Apprenticeships are so much more than an alternative to university!
Interview with Georgina Afuape, Events Apprentice at XYZ:
What spurred you on to take up an apprenticeship in the first place?
I want to make a change within brands, I want to change the narrative with how brands connect with young people, whether this be through music, sports, fashion, beauty or social impact. As a young black female, I don’t want brands to feed off of my culture but to include us and to care about us. I think it’s important to be inclusive but not because it is the right thing to do or it’s a matter of ticking the “right” boxes but because there is a genuine understanding of the audience’s brands position in order to market themselves effectively.
I quickly realised that to get into these brands and to share my insights, I’d need to work my way up and build up some solid experience to start to get my voice heard. –
My aspirations came into alignment strongly this year after taking part in the ‘I am Change’ 2020 Change development programme, founded by Duro Oye, which changed my life in more ways than I could imagine. This programme allowed me to see myself for who I really am, it allowed me to pick myself apart to realise that I am doing well and in everything I do, I just have to keep going. I met amazing people, I gained lifelong friends and learnt a great amount from the different modules I took part in. 2020 Change allowed me to “see the forest to make better sense of the trees”, so I could have clarity in what I wanted to do, where I saw myself in 5 years and with so many ideas buzzing around – how I could structure them all and walk in purpose.
I’ve always struggled with what I’ve wanted to do career wise, but I’ve never struggled in knowing the things I love and the things I’m passionate about. I know that in everything I do I always want to make a difference, inspire others, make people smile and build great relationships. It’s very easy to get a job because there are so many jobs available but what’s important is whether that job is actually where you want to be. I’ve always insisted and pursued jobs that I know align with the things I love in order to work in an environment I can grow in.
How did you get your Apprenticeship?
Through 2020Change I was exposed to different partners that genuinely care about the 2020Change programme and everything Duro and the team are doing. The relationship 2020Change has with Converse was so exciting as fashion brands like these have a reputation of being hard to be exposed to career wise. But through 2020Change it’s helped me to bridge the gap, to lead me to where I am now. One of the job roles they had was with XYZ – a company I hadn’t heard of but, after lots of research realised so much that XYZ does resonated with me and I just knew I wanted to start my career with them.
One month into your apprenticeship and how’s it going?
It’s currently only been 6 weeks working at XYZ, but these past 6 weeks have taught me so much about myself and the industry. This industry is by no means slow placed but I enjoy it because there is always something to do, whether that be venue finding, speaking to different stakeholders, sitting in on client meetings or actually curating different events. Each day is certainly different…. not to mention busy. One thing that has really stuck out for me is the importance of a work, life, balance – which XYZ has enabled me to realise the importance of. Ensuring exercise still remains a part of daily life is a discipline that has enabled me to work more effectively. I’ve become more open minded too. I’m learning where my strengths lie and how that affects me and my colleagues on a day to day basis to deliver for the client. Working here has also fuelled my passion for experiential marketing where I can see the importance of creating memorable experiences through events being at the heart of marketing efforts for brands to bring them to life.
What advice would you give to others looking for an apprenticeship?
My main advice that I would give to those starting out in the world of apprenticeships, is to firstly acknowledge that it’s ok to not have your whole life planned out. Enjoy the fact that some days you will wake up with a new idea, a loss of love for one thing or a burning passion to do something completely out of your comfort zone. We are allowed to evolve. Remain committed to what drives you and what you care about and remain committed when looking for a career that is fit for you, even if you get knock backs – these are normal for everyone! But remember to be flexible. For me, I never knew I would go down the route of an apprenticeship after completing my degree but fundamentally it’s a way of working whilst getting your first (or subsequent) qualification. You’ll learn both the theoretical and practical as well, which is great. And finally, embrace every opportunity and never say no – even if you feel wary at first! You won’t regret it.