#NAW2018 - Jess Bulman

Leaving college at 18 I had no idea what was next, having decided university wasn’t for me. The thought of spending three years on a degree I wasn’t passionate about and not being able to get a job afterwards due to a lack of work experience, terrified me. The three hour lectures didn’t seem too appealing either.

Apprenticeships came to my attention shortly after. To me, an apprenticeship wasn’t for people that were on my path, they were for more practical jobs like plumbing or electricians. I was offered a chance at an office-based apprenticeship in Social Media and Digital Marketing; it was guaranteed to not only build my skills for the role but also general skills for handling the workplace for the first time.

Straight away I knew Social Media and Digital Marketing was the right choice for me. It gave me the opportunity to do something I already loved and did everyday to actually earn my own money for the first time and gain work experience whilst doing it.

After two assessment days of my skills and strengths I was matched with an apprenticeship in the Communications Team at ForViva, giving me the chance to put my training on web and social media into practice. I went for the interview and instantly fell in love with the place. The people were friendly and I loved the idea of being in a busy, buzzing environment where I could just hit the ground running, getting stuck into the growing workload and get used to working life. And they seemed to like me too!

Straight away I got into working on developing content for ForViva’s many social media channels in my first week. I was taught to update the websites and picked up booking and filing photography and videos. It quickly became clear to me there wouldn’t be any limits to my role. There has always been the opportunity for me to go above and beyond my remit and learn about new things that I’m interested in like PR, internal comms and staff engagement - things I’d have never even thought of doing a year earlier. One thing I loved doing was going out on filming and photography shoots, bringing visions and stories to life for people to see.

On top of gaining no end of experience, my team always made sure my studying and qualifications in my apprenticeship came first. Managers would always make sure there was time for coursework to be completed within my workload, gave me days at a time to just focus on that and ensured I always attended training sessions so I could develop. This was crucial to the success of my apprenticeship and the team were always hugely supportive.

Thanks to all the learning and backing of my team I completed my NVQ Level 3 in Digital Marketing with a distinction.

Since completing my apprenticeship, the learning experience has not stopped. I was kept on full time at ForViva and I couldn’t have been happier, every day is different and I’m still given opportunities on top of my day to day to get involved in things I’m interested in and that will challenge me. Training sessions and learning opportunities are always made available allowing me to keep developing my skills.

Working here is busy and fast paced but it’s a lot of fun. Themed staff engagement activities have given me an opportunity to mix with and meet new people across the business and ForViva’s approach to health and wellbeing is informed through an annual staff survey. Free fruit once a month and onsite therapy treatments are just a few of the perks I’ve enjoyed recently but if a head massage isn’t your thing then a visit to the onsite gym after work might be for you. There is also a great social side often centred around the company’s fundraising activities including 10k runs, quiz nights and a masquerade ball. I’ve loved being social with my colleagues often raising money for worthy charities.

I’m really proud of my progression at the company and how I’m now able to account manage some of my own personal internal customers and becoming a “go to person” around the business.

I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now without my apprenticeship, it’s something I never saw myself doing, but now I love and hope to continue my career ForViva. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my amazing team, who continue to support me, and see where the next progression opportunities may take me.

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