An apprentice’s journey with Connected

In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, one of our apprentices has written a blog dedicated to her experience with us along with five top tips of advice for new apprentices.

My experience as a starting apprentice

Hi, I’m Rebecca and I’m an apprentice in the marketing team at DSG. I joined late in September 2020 mostly working with Connected Car Finance and I’ve been loving it since. What struck me in my first week was how nice and welcoming everyone at DSG is, and when I met the lovely Richard and bubbly Laura I knew then this was the right fit for me. I also really admired Connected when I learned that the company cares for independent used car dealers, providing them with so much more than just finance and I’m glad to be part of the team creating content to showcase their excellence.

Getting the job

As my academic year ended on an unusual note back in March, I found myself stressed looking for what came next in my life. As anyone will know, especially in this climate, getting a job is easier said than done. I knew I wanted to pursue an apprenticeship in digital marketing because I developed my passion for content creation through my college years. I applied for the Juice Academy, which I had been determined to join since I first heard about them on my college careers day. They offered my dream role – and a dream job it turned out to be! After many applications to multiple places, nothing seemed to turn up so the stress was definitely building up, to say the least.

September arrived and the Juice Academy came back to me with an interview at DSG Finance. I was relieved and after two interviews with the lovely marketing department, they gave me the job. I was so happy my efforts paid off and I couldn’t wait to start doing what I love with a brilliant team beside me. It’s quite evident the DSG Group cares for things that really matter, rewards people, and strives to make a difference because at a time like this, they never stopped hiring and they continued to donate to charity. If it wasn’t for DSG and the Juice Academy I wouldn’t be here today with great opportunities around me so needless to say I’m very thankful.

Working for a car finance company, I expected it to be very corporate and possibly a dull environment, but to my surprise, this really wasn’t the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, everyone has a few laughs and there’s nothing but smiles, kindness, and professionalism. The DSG Group is full of hard-working teams. Since I have been a part of the group, I have been given lots of responsibilities and I’ve been able to challenge myself and get stuck in. It’s rewarding to share my ideas and see them come into practice and I love creating and exploring lots of different work along the way.

The benefits of an apprenticeship

The best part about apprenticeships  – and I’m sure everyone has heard this enough by now –  is that you get to learn while putting your knowledge into practice. You can benefit so much more from this method because it allows you to explore, grow and experiment which you can’t achieve from just learning. You get to ask questions and contribute to a company meaning you’ve already gained skills tailored for a specific brand. You’re basically being paid to learn and develop skills. An apprenticeship is definitely for you if you’re more of a visual, hands-on experience learner and it gives you the chance to talk to people you may not usually talk to so you’re always learning in different aspects. What I love about my role is that no two days are the same. Not bad for my first job, eh?

The challenges of an apprenticeship

The challenges of an apprenticeship include independent learning as we are working remotely from home. This means teaching yourself how to use new programs in order to develop your knowledge and skills as you grow in your apprenticeship. All you can do is give it your best shot and prove that your boss made the right decision hiring you!

My advice to new apprentices:

1. Research your company and the apprenticeship

Researching the company you work for saves you and your manager time going over it as you begin working there. Of course they will make sure you understand the gist of it but this will be your chance to ask questions which will prove you are time efficient. Making sure you understand the ins and outs of the company is important to your job role so it’s good to get ahead of the game. It’s vital to research the apprenticeship as well as the industry in general because you want to be absolutely certain that you will enjoy it and that it is the right fit for you. Once you’ve committed to the job, no one wants any doubts so it’s important to know what you’re getting into.

When you’re starting the job, make sure you’re creating the best impression as first impressions count. Show your employable skills, present yourself smarter than the dress code and get there early. For example, I made a practice run journey before I officially started to make sure I knew exactly which building I work in and so I knew how I could time my journey.

2. Step in to help out

It sets a good impression with your boss when they see that you are voluntarily willing to do a task for them. It’s best to show your enthusiasm and you will be rewarded for your efforts. Not only that, but you’re taking the opportunity to learn something new whether you do an amazing job or not – at the end of the day you’re still training so you can go back to it and you’ll see the improvement instantly.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Grow your curiosity. Take this opportunity to learn from your co-workers to see what their role includes. This will lead you to develop distinct aspects of your job role and you may find things you want to pursue more of. It’s all about discovering what you love to do and where it can take you.

4. Remember, you are an employee like everyone else

An apprentice is still a member of the team and you are respected and valued just like your co-workers, it just means you need more training and observation to which you will be given the time you need. Therefore, there is no need to feel intimidated by your colleagues’ capabilities, you’ve just started and no one expects you to know everything in the industry.

5. Observe your staff members

Get to know the people you work with. You want to make work friends and feel like part of the team so you’ve got to get yourself out there and talk to new people because teamwork is what holds a company’s identity and performance. After all, these will be the faces you see each day so it’s nice to get to know them so you can motivate each other on down days.

My future at DSG

I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine at the office, the new building at DSG, so I can see all my colleagues again and have a catch up from a safe distance.

I am excited about my future here at DSG and my project to take on Igneous, creating and editing videos. Overall, I’m eager to develop my skills further and continue to get more involved whilst learning new things and completing my apprenticeship.

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