What we’ve learnt about… Digital Marketing Apprenticeships

Digital Marketing apprenticeships are the future for the creative industries. “What a grand sweeping statement claim”, I hear you cry! Well, I believe in it and I think that’s a powerful message. And I want to use these limited words to say why it works for us at Creative Alliance and why it should be in every business’s future plans. Well, that’s if you want to grow of course.

The apprenticeship by ethos is supposed to be around work-based training, a business takes in a young person and trains them up in their chosen field. The qualification is very much based on practical and applied understanding for the apprentice. And it is a very legitimate way into work for a young person. But often, it’s been compared unfavourably to a University degree because it’s claimed: “Oh they don’t know the theory.” The theory does really give a great, deeper understanding of what you are doing and more importantly why you are doing it. So do you miss this with an apprenticeship?

I’m just going to throw that out the pram because the new Digital Marketing apprenticeships are full of theory as well as applied practical knowledge. An apprentice does have to learn the theory – of marketing strategy, brands, audiences as well as search, links, indexing, Google Ads and the whole area of metrics and analytics.

It’s steeped in understanding and this gives the employer and the apprentice a unique opportunity. Together it’s up to both the manager and the apprentice to work through the theory elements of the qualification. But rather than it being words and pictures out of a book or out of a lecturer’s mouth? as the apprentice goes forward in this qualification all this theory starts to come alive in the workplace. An apprentice will learn it and apply it.

I often hear apprentices say:

“I’ve done that? I did that before, ahh – so that’s why I was asked to do it that way”

“I’m going to put that into practice next time I sit quietly in the corner for the creative meeting.”

The apprentice is your current employee and your future account manager or your future business development manager. It’s important that they understand the business and theory in a profound manner within the work that they are doing. And the results: you will see a young person grow into not only an asset and become but the best business decision you have made in years!

James Ellis: Digital Marketing and Creative & Digital Media Assessor


James Ellis was trained as a filmmaker at Stirling University and started working at the BBC as a cameraman before he graduated. From there he has worked multiple technical jobs within the film and TV industry before settling into producing creative projects for companies across the North East. James then worked as a producer for top advertising agency, Mezzo Group in Leeds, where he dealt with big brand clients like BBC, ASDA, Walmart, Northern Rail, 888.com and Saatchi and Saatchi. It was here he developed skills in marketing.

He has since worked as Creative Director for the National Youth Film Academy where he managed a small marketing team in delivering their best sales for over three years. Using digital channels and a small budget he developed a strategy that was effective, creative and successful.

He is currently working for Creative Alliance as an Assessor as well as doing freelance work in consulting in the North East.