How Brighton’s leading digital apprenticeship training provider, Creative Process, adapted to lockdown
The sudden lockdown in March 2020 turned the world of work upside down. The Creative Process team packed up the office and headed home to convert our living rooms into a working space. This was a particular challenge for our young digital apprentices who were just beginning their new careers and likely their first job including 20 new digital marketing apprentices that Creative Process remotely enrolled just three days after lockdown was announced.
Fortunately, with some fast solutions and long working days, COVID did not stop our apprentices continuing with their training and professional development as we immediately put a strategy in place to switch to a remote programme. AS a digital skills training provider we were already lucky enough to be in a position whereby 25% of our blended training model was delivered online which meant we already had the infrastructure and systems in place to make a speedy transition to a 100% online programme.
We were conscious that inducting apprentices remotely would be a very different experience for them so our mission was to ensure that this would go just as well, if not better. Learning continued via our Smart Assessor virtual learning platform with more frequent and shorter bite sized sessions in contrast to a full day of class-based learning. The training team were fantastic in providing every apprentice with the 1:1 support that they needed, for example how to make remote working effective. We provided weekly and regular comms and check ins for those dealing with furlough and redundancy. We also took time to contact our employers to ask what support we could provide and to understand what challenges they were dealing with.
Initial results were promising as learners stayed engaged employers were responsive. As we progressed it became clear that our programme was continuing intact far more effectively and efficiently than originally anticipated. What has really stood out from our apprentices and employer partners has been their resilience and determination to get on and make things work.
Now almost a year on and in our third lock down, we are pleased to see local employers are still hiring new digital apprentices and confidence seems to be returning. As a society we have probably experienced more digital transformation in the last year than we have in the last 5 years and this continues to drive the demand for the digital skills and capabilities that we offer
In early February we are welcoming a new group of 25 digital apprentices; all with new jobs with a wide range of employers that are committed to supporting young people and embedding digital apprenticeships and skills as a part of their growth strategy. More than ever employers understand that digital skills and capabilities are critical for effective working in the 21st century and for staying ahead of the game.
"What our apprentices are saying"
"Digital Marketing Apprentice Georgia, has recently been set up from home as a result of the current lockdown. She reflected on her experience of working remotely…"
How have you found your job so far and what has it been like starting a job during lockdown?
“Like many others, this will be the first time I have had to work from home which has been both a challenge and exciting experience. I have regular contact with my team through video calls, so in a way it’s almost like talking face-to-face. And every time I’m given a new task, I am given all the support, tools and resources I need, including the use of a computer to work from which has been a big help. It’s made me feel like the company values the work I do and my desire to evolve my skills to become an asset.”
How have you kept motivated whilst working from home?
“Of course, the best place to get on with work is the office and I hope to get back as soon as it’s safe, but being able to communicate with both my colleagues and tutors on my course is a really big help to keep me motivated. I’m really glad to be part of such a friendly and inclusive team.”
"Megan is a Content Producer Apprentice, she believes that doing an apprenticeship during lockdown has provided her with fresh new skills and insight. She speaks about her experience…"
How have you found you experience as a lockdown apprentice?
"Doing an apprenticeship during the pandemic has definitely been a learning curve as all my training has been delivered remotely. However, with all the newest technology in place to stay connected, it basically feels like a classroom experience. It’s been an interesting, but great experience and I’ve been able to develop skills in areas that I'm passionate about.”
What challenges has lockdown had on your apprenticeship training?
“Lockdown has presented me with some very minor challenges, such as my 2-year-old niece walking in mid zoom call; however, lack of support and communication hasn’t been one of them. If anything, I have found the team, apprentices and general work relationships grow closer during lockdown as we have regular chats and increased meetings to make sure everyone is involved and kept in the loop. Our tutors regularly check in with us also to see how we are doing both in regards to our training and our well-being.”
Do you have any advice for businesses wanting to hire an apprentice during lockdown?
“My advice to businesses who are working from home but waiting to hire new talent, is to go for it! If you have picked the right candidate, they will adapt, work hard and fit in, from home.”