Apprenticeship launched for ‘born digital’ generation

Reading College, the Thames Valley’s leading further and higher education College, today launched The Social Digital Apprenticeship. This Apprenticeship has been launched as a result of an exclusive partnership between the Digital Youth Academy, Reading College and Oxford & Cherwell Valley College.

The launch of the new apprenticeship coincides with National Apprenticeship Week (March 11 to 15) which aims to promote the role vocational training programmes that help people to earn as they learn. The apprenticeship is designed for those who want to develop their skills in social media and embark on a career in social and digital marketing.

Lesley Donoghue, Principal of Reading College, said: “Today’s young people are part of a digital generation who naturally make use of new technologies to communicate. Using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and writing blogs to connect comes naturally to this generation who have assimilated it into their everyday life.

“At the same time businesses are recognising the benefits of social and digital marketing to help them engage with new customers and grow their business. This new apprenticeship will create new employment opportunities and meet the needs of local employers, who can maximise these natural skills in the workplace.

“We are excited to see the first social digital apprentices take up this opportunity to improve their own career prospects and deliver tangible improvements for local businesses.”

The apprenticeship takes a minimum of 12 months to complete and is based predominantly in the workplace. Apprentices will complete a wide range of modules, using e-learning techniques and by attending college and will also benefit from regular visits by industry experienced assessors. The partnership is now talking to employers in the area to secure the first apprenticeships. Potential job roles will include digital and social media assistants, marketing assistants and communications officers.

The Digital Youth Academy (DYA) was founded in 2011 by entrepreneur and industry expert Penny Power. The DYA apprenticeship is designed to provide people with the skills and qualifications needed to professionalise and commercialise their social, digital and networking skills.

Penny Power, founder of the DYA said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Reading College and Oxford & Cherwell Valley College who share our aspiration to provide young people with sustainable futures and to offer local businesses a solution to their growing need for digital marketing and social media expertise. We look forward to working in collaboration with the college in harnessing the inherent digital skills of young people and applying this within a business context.

“Research carried out by Nielsen in 2012 shows that more people are accessing social media due to the growth of smartphones and tablets. 46% of social media users say that they use their smartphone and 16% say they connect to social media using a tablet. This in turn offers greater digital marketing opportunities for businesses to sell their products and services, and a requirement to embed these skills within the business. What better way than to take on an apprentice.”

Local companies interested in recruiting an apprentice should contact the Business Development team at Reading College on 0845 467 6068 (for Berkshire employers) or Oxford & Cherwell Valley College on 01865 551015 (for Oxfordshire employers).

People interested in taking up the apprenticeships should contact Reading College on 0118 955 4300 or Oxford & Cherwell Valley College on 01865 550550.

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