Why hiring marketing apprentices is good for business

Why hiring marketing apprentices is good for business

Apprenticeships are a critical route for people to enter the marketing profession. But how does this process benefit businesses? In this article, the B2W Group’s Neil Baker reveals how recruiting marketing apprentices not only helped the apprentices themselves but also helped their business develop and thrive in a way it wouldn't have otherwise.

The Covid-19 pandemic put a strain on businesses around the world and like most, we were forced to flex in new directions to ensure maximum efficiency and output. As a provider of education, all programmes were moved online and completely revised, from the sequencing of the curriculum to the resources used to provide a high-quality of education to our learners. 

By September 2020, we were in a position to grow our marketing team. Rather than employ a group of new full-time employees, we took the decision to recruit digital marketing apprentices. 

“Hiring a team of digital marketing apprentices was good business sense,” explains The B2W Group Head of Marketing Dave Bailey. “We wanted to explore new marketing channels and double-down on our existing activity, but without the expense of multiple full-time employees. From the get-go, our digital marketing apprentices delivered value to the marketing function. They’ve been involved in social media, emails, and lead generation, along with creative projects and video work. The team have proved to be invaluable and have generated a tangible return on investment for the marketing team.” 

In 2022, larger companies are investing more and more in hiring apprentices. The likes of BT, The British Army, The Department of Work and Pensions, Ernst & Young, Iceland, Tesco, Lloyds, Network Rail, and Amazon are all among the UK’s top hirers of apprentices

However, any business can benefit from having an apprenticeship programme. A Digital Marketing Apprentice can be a valuable member of a large marketing function, or a key second-in-command to a small team.

Common misconceptions 

According to Apprenticeships.gov, 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity, and 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their products or service. Perhaps most importantly, 86% of employers said that apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation. 

This relevance is key. Apprentices are not just a cost-saving method of hiring staff in place of full-time, salaried employees; they are a way of growing a team and a business. This realisation has made apprenticeships more suitable, accessible and comfortable for people of all ages.  

One huge misconception about apprenticeships is that they are only suitable for school leavers. This often leads employers to assume that if they were to recruit an apprentice, then they would need more management or handholding. This isn’t the case. 

According to the Government’s latest apprenticeship statistics, 2019/20 saw a higher proportion of starts from apprentices aged over 24, compared to 2018/19, with ages 25+ accounting for nearly half (47%) of all starts in the UK. 

A fresh perspective 

One of the benefits of new employees is that they bring a fresh perspective to the table. This extends to bringing an apprentice into your business. 

A digital marketing apprentice’s job isn’t simply to take on the work the existing team doesn’t have time for. An apprentice can bring fresh ideas to your business, especially if they are younger and familiar with new technologies, or if they are older and have a wealth of relevant skills and experience to offer.  

New digital marketing apprenticeship standards are industry-led and are developed by leading employers in the marketing sector, including Microsoft, Virgin Media, BT, HP, Fujitsu and IBM. The standard enables learners to develop and improve their knowledge, skills and behaviours through an ambitious and challenging curriculum. This means that bringing an apprentice into your business also exposes you to industry best practices.78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity. Source: Apprenticeships.gov.uk

Adding value from day one 

The first task we set our newly hired Level 3 digital marketing apprentices on day one, was to research our business and its competitors. This gave the new team a good overview of our business offerings and flagged some practices that our competitors were doing that we might want to look at. 

From there, our new team quickly showed a drive to get involved in the bread and butter of marketing: writing SEO content, managing social media, running email campaigns, and generating leads. 

As each showed proficiency and interest in different areas of marketing (SEO, website, social media, email, design etc), the team fell into roles of responsibility and took ownership of individual duties. We have multiple company provisions, so it was important that the apprenticeship team flexed across all disciplines. 

Duties and responsibilities 

All of our digital marketing apprentices took responsibility for distributing leads to our various learner engagement teams. Their daily work was integral to the success of each provision and helped maximise efficiency across the business.  

“Over in Learner Recruitment we’ve seen the benefit of having digital marketing apprentices in the business,” said The B2W Group’s Head of Learner Recruitment, Jamie Morris. “On a daily basis, the apprentices manage lead distribution to our learner engagement teams, ensuring that they have tangible, qualified leads for work throughout the week. Having apprentices in place to cover this function has freed up valuable time for the sales team to focus on adding value to our customers and clients by providing detailed independent advice and guidance.” 

Back in 2021, Jacob was keen to flex his video skills, so one of his first projects was to promote our apprenticeship provision with an eye-catching and brand-building video.  

Billy identified that our Instagram presence had been neglected over the years. He quickly took full ownership of the channel and created a content strategy designed to build our brand and promote the various company provisions. 

Meanwhile, Oliver was keen to get involved in our distance learning offering. Launching a new series of blogs designed to shine a spotlight on a different distance learning course each month. These pieces not only enhanced our profile in the e-learning space and provided useful information, but also generated qualified leads for our Learner Engagement team. Oliver also ran SMS marketing campaigns, which generated revenue for the business. 

Jack completed an SEO audit of our company website and identified some areas for improvement. Thanks to his work, our website is now more efficient and user-friendly. 

Simone quickly started work on re-launching our Digital Takeaway marketing masterclass scheme, creating content, and building campaigns to promote this. 

Throughout all of this, our team of digital marketing apprentices developed regular content and launched ad-hoc campaigns to suit the needs of the business. 

On top of their contribution to the business, having a team of apprentices willing and able to take responsibility for various functions has allowed the larger marketing team to focus their efforts on further business growth.

"Jacob was keen to flex his video skills, so one of his first projects was to promote our apprenticeship provision with an eye-catching and brand-building video."

Turning apprentices into full-time employees 

Besides the value that our digital marketing apprentices have contributed to The B2W Group, it’s been incredibly rewarding to see a team of aspiring digital marketers grow into confident and analytical marketing professionals. 

As our junior marketers neared the end of their apprenticeships, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to create full-time marketing roles for three of them within the organisation.  

Off the back of their successes, we recruited Jacob, Oliver and Billy into the business and allowed them the opportunity to grow their areas of interest and proficiency. 

Now in their second full year of full-time employment with us, Jacob, Oliver and Billy have grown into valuable contributing members of our marketing team, furthering the growth of our efforts and outputs.  

Without having first seen their performance as apprentices, we may never have been in a position to grow our team with fresh, young talent.  

The trio are now also completing their Level 4 Marketing Executive apprenticeship with us, which is giving them further skills and experiences as they continue their day-to-day duties. Once completed, the Level 4 qualification will cement the marketing careers of Jacob, Oliver and Billy, putting them in a position to continue their trajectory into successful marketers.

"Oliver was keen to get involved in launching a new series of blogs designed to shine a light on a different distance learning course each month. These pieces not only enhanced our profile in the e-learning space and provided useful information, but also generated qualified leads for our Learner Engagement team."

Jacob’s social media marketing activity for our Digital Bytesize offering requires constant monitoring and refreshing of creatives and messaging to ensure we are front of mind within a competitive sector. 

Oliver’s regular content outputs around The B2W Group’s culture positions the organisation as more than just another business, instead, allowing us to be seen as a forward-thinking, progressive, and socially aware education provider. 

Billy has owned our internal branding efforts, providing support for the whole business and delivering quarterly newsletters to The B2W Group’s staff members and stakeholders. 

On top of their individual efforts, all three have managed lead distribution for various company provisions and are responsible for ad-hoc marketing activity to suit the demands of the business and our ever-evolving sector. 

With their newfound skills, come more in-depth contributions to our marketing efforts, including bringing new ideas to the table, taking more ownership of marketing channels, and an attitude toward growth and progress for the organisation as a whole. 

Over the past two years, we have brought a dozen apprentices into our business. As well as hiring Jacob, Oliver and Billy full-time, the latest apprentice to join our team is Ryan, who has followed in his colleagues’ footsteps and taken ownership of various marketing efforts, including our website management, SEO, and lead generation for one of our most profitable provisions. 

For The B2W Group, hiring apprentices is more than just a cost-effective way to plug skills or business-need gaps. We see a key advantage is being able to look at the 12-15 month programme as an extended interview “test”, and as a growing business, our marketing team has to constantly flex and adapt to new market trends and challenges.  

As such, we are often in a position to make new hires, and having worked with a colleague for a year or more means we know what they are capable of and if they are a strong culture fit for the team. Their experience within our business also means they can hit the ground running if we employ them as permanent members of staff, as was the case with Ryan when he joined us. 

Typical job roles for qualified apprentices include; marketing assistant, marketing executive, marketing co-ordinator, campaign executive, social media executive, content co-ordinator, and seo executive."Billy identified that our Instagram presence had been neglected over the years. He quickly took full owndership of the channel and created a content strategy designed to build our brand and promote the various company provisions."

Apprenticeships with the B2W group 

With an apprenticeship scheme, you can expand your business with new skills and training opportunities in a cost-effective way that delivers extra ideas and resources to your team or business. 

The majority of apprenticeships are almost entirely Government-funded, with further incentives being offered to employers. This means that you are able to grow your teams in an economical way, while also benefiting from dedicated professionals armed with the most relevant and up-to-date industry knowledge. 

When compared to the onboarding and salary costs of a full-time employee, a digital marketing apprentice is a worthwhile way to grow your team with minimum expense. 


If you’re looking to become a marketing apprentice, visit our Get into Marketing page to find plenty of information and resources to help you find out more about starting your apprenticeship journey. 

Learn more about how you can hire a Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprentice or upskill an existing team member in the B2W Level 4 Marketing Executive programme by visiting The B2W Group’s website.  

Neil Baker Marketing campaign & content manager The B2W Group
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