How to Ace Your Apprenticeship Like ‘Our Joe’.

Work How to Ace Your Apprenticeship Like ‘Our Joe’.

We’ve had cause for celebration in the SO Marketing office recently. The talented Joe Ciavucco, who we took on as an apprentice back in 2015, has just reached a huge milestone: he’s officially designed over 100 websites for us. Of course, he’s not an apprentice anymore (Joe currently wears the title Junior Web Developer), but it got us thinking – with Joe impressing us so much, how can other interns do the same? So, we compiled a little list – for all you interns, work experiencers and graduates out there – of ways that you can impress your employer, and turn that two-week internship into a career

Consider Looking Local
Okay, so there’s an idea amongst creative circles that in order to cinch a career in design, you need to flock to a big city, but staying local can offer its own advantages. Not only will you be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, but your agency will be keener to retain good talent, and you’ll be helped up the ladder faster as a result. Consider doing your rope-learning closer to home, and when it is time to move on, chances are that you’ve been given more responsibility and had more experience than your city-seeking peers. And honestly? London will always be there.

Throw Your Net Wide
Reality check. Everyone coming out of college with a BTEC in Graphic Design will have virtually the same skill set. Your portfolios will differ radically, sure, but you will all have had the same grounding in typeface design, magazine layout and branding. This isn’t to say that you won’t still get employed, but being an apprentice (or looking for an apprenticeship) is a great time to learn some additional skills, and get an edge above your contemporaries. Chances are, you’ll have some leftover time, and using it wisely (ie. not trawling through your friend’s posts on Facebook) can only make your prospects better. Whether you’re at work or at home, if you find yourself with some down time, get on YouTube or Vimeo, and watch tutorials on 3D design, or video editing, or even presentation skills. Your future self will thank you.

Make the Tea
Okay, so it’s a cliche, but it’s a cliché for a reason. If you can make tea / type up notes / book train tickets for your colleagues, then they’ll associate having you around with a decreased workload, and before you know it, you’ll be granted real responsibility. We know that – especially if you’re a mature student – being expected to make tea for an entire office can be a major ego dive, but a bit of humility at the beginning of your career can go a long way. If it helps, remember that everyone – from the CEO of Apple to the editor of Vogue, once had to run around the office with three reduced-fat lattes in their hand, and it put no stopper on the magnificent heights they eventually reached. Do it with grace, do it with openness, and know that you won’t be doing it for long. And try to carry forward the lessons you learn as an apprentice into your career; humility doesn’t just make a good worker; it makes a good boss.

Be Visible
We get it. Apprenticeships are intimidating. This might be the first time you’ve ever found yourself in a corporate setting, but even if it’s not, there’s something about being surrounded by talented, experienced people that makes you want to clam up and find a quiet, desk-facing computer to sit at ASAP. But making yourself visible is crucial to success. Being helpful (see point 3 – ‘making tea’) will soon endear you to your new colleagues, and asking questions (always ask questions) doesn’t make you annoying; it shows your willingness to learn. As an apprentice, it can often feel like the least annoying option is just to find a project to work on and shut up, but trust us, we want you to make waves. We don’t expect you to swim before you can paddle, and we will fend off your questions with grace, so be annoying, subvert the status quo, and throw new ideas around until one hits the bullseye. That’s why you’ve been hired. To questions the old guard. And make something magical in the interim.

SO Marketing is an award-winning web design agency based in Staffordshire. For career opportunities, work experience enquiries or just a general chat, please send us an email; we promise that we make our own tea, from time to time!

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