National Apprenticeship Week: Q&A with Ellanah Jackson

By Ellanah Jackson

2020 was a year unlike any other; full of twists and turns and ups and downs. Finishing sixth form in the midst of a global pandemic seemed extremely surreal, with exams and results hanging in the balance. Despite the chaos of the year, my decision to further my education with an apprenticeship was one that I had firmly made and wasn’t going to change. For me, the safety net of the ‘university route’, which I feel falsely promises you a high paying job, seemed less and less a reality with the uncertainty that the pandemic brought, further solidifying my choice to embark on a new challenge with an apprenticeship at The Oracle Group.

As it’s National Apprenticeship Week, I have decided to reflect on my journey so far, answering three key questions about my apprenticeship and giving insight into my choice and experience as a PR apprentice.

 

  1. How did you decide that university was not the route for you?

Schools have always been eager in encouraging students to follow the predictable path of obtaining high grades and choosing a university to continue their studies at. Now more than ever, I believe this option is dated and lacking in opportunity, with nearly half of postgraduates struggling to find a job after university[1]. As well as this, the structure of day-to-day life at university never appealed to me, knowing this sort of environment was one in which I could not thrive in and reach my full potential. After finishing just one week of work experience at The Oracle Group, I was eager to gain more hands-on experience, where I could earn and learn in a real work-life setting, an apprenticeship was a no-brainer.

 

  1. How has your apprenticeship improved your skillset for day-to-day life?

As a ‘Gen-Z’ in a primarily digital world, I have always been keen to make the most out of social media. Before taking on my public relations apprenticeship at The Oracle Group, I would use my social media skills to scour the online world for celebrity gossip, influencers or Instagram brands. Now five months into my apprenticeship, I have developed my online skills thoroughly which have enabled me stay more in touch with relevant media news and important information. I have made sure that I take full advantage of the resourceful nature of the online world to keep an eye out for interesting statistics and appealing feature ideas. Being a PR Apprentice has also allowed me to dive deeper into the skillset of engaging and researching online, including sourcing factually correct, relevant and clear information – a key skill that’s needed in the world of PR.

In addition to this, I have acknowledged the importance of maintaining positive connections with people, especially journalists in the industry, which I now have the confidence to call for pitching features and following up press releases. Especially now that we are in lockdown, keeping in touch with people who we cannot see in person is key.

In PR, a lot of the best ideas come from thinking outside of the box, which the friendly team at Oracle and my apprenticeship in itself has really encouraged me to do; helping me gain confidence and become an avid thinker in my day-to-day life.

 

 

  1. What are your favourite things about your apprenticeship?

Despite only being an apprentice at The Oracle Group for a short while now, I have several favourite’s. Not only has this apprenticeship been an amazing and invaluable experience so far in the world of PR but being a part of The Oracle Group has given me many different and exciting opportunities to develop my skillset further and gain useful knowledge every day that I’m here. With the help and support of the team, I have had the chance to be able to work on the social media side of PR which has been lots of fun; creating dynamic and engaging content for different clients and using social media as a tool to promote, engage and encourage growth and recognition for clients. Being exposed to the real work life from the off-set has been a challenging yet rewarding experience for me, and one of my favourite things about this apprenticeship. In the world of PR gaining coverage for clients is a win for everyone, so being able to achieve this and strive towards achieving more and more coverage is a very rewarding experience and one of my favourite things about being a PR apprentice.

 

Nowadays apprenticeships are valued just as much as going to university, with the added bonus of getting paid to learn whilst gaining hands-on experience and not landing in any debt before you’ve even begun. For those who enjoy and feel as though they excel in an environment they have to get hands-on, an apprenticeship is the perfect option. No two days in the life of a PR apprentice are the same. Everyday is a new day to conquer the next challenge, taking on exciting real-life tasks that put my skillset to the test and help me develop to the best of my ability.

[1] https://graduatecoach.co.uk/help-im-struggling-to-find-a-job-after-university/