Apprenticeship Case Study: Daniel Burch, Digital Marketing Apprentice at Tree Shop
Gloucestershire College proudly works with Tree Shop to train their new Digital Marketing Apprentice, Daniel. Based in the Forest of Dean, Tree Shop is a successful online business producing thousands of orders every year. Owners John and Walter Davis have great ambitions for the business and welcomed Daniel to their team in November 2020 with an exciting job role combining a love of the outdoors and nature with the technical skills of digital marketing.
We caught up with Daniel to find out how his apprenticeship is going so far.
Why did you decide to apply for an apprenticeship?
After looking at my options when I was still in Secondary School, I decided that doing an apprenticeship would be best for me because of my learning style and ambitions. I wanted to develop my skills and experience and I thought the best way to learn is with hands-on experience, instead of taking a full time, theory course. The fact that you’re also paid to learn instead of taking on a student loan was also attractive to me.
How did you find your apprenticeship?
I found the apprenticeship vacancy on the National Careers Service website. You can filter apprenticeships by what industry you want to work in so that’s how I was able to find the specific apprenticeship I wanted.
Applying for the apprenticeship is similar to applying for a job. You write out a description of yourself, what you bring to the table, what you hope to get out of the apprenticeship, and attach your CV
Tell us about your apprenticeship so far.
My day to day role can vary, especially during lockdown. I’ve been learning how to complete and manage invoices, send customer orders out that need to be sent to their address, and creating spreadsheets to manage stock for our products.
When I’m not working on the computer, I’ve been planting trees and placing out shrubs and trees for our Shelterbelt project. I’ve had a good mix of working in an office and working out in fields close to nature.
The apprenticeship programme has been very helpful as you can directly apply what you have learnt. As the sole digital marketer who doesn’t have a marketing team to work with, it’s good to see how to take what you know from the apprenticeship course and apply it yourself to help the business. Its knowledge that can deliver results.
How are you supported during your apprenticeship?
My line manager and Gloucestershire College assessor have both been very supportive. Being able to communicate with them isn’t a hassle and they’re available whenever you have problems or queries. My line manager has been training me by drawing on their own experience working as a manager in different industries for many years. They have shown me all the aspects of their business that they can, which is helpful as a marketer as you get a much better understanding of their business as a whole.
Based on your experience so far, would you recommend doing an apprenticeship to others?
I would recommend doing an apprenticeship because it's more than just a qualification. You learn how to adapt to challenges, create plans and projects, work in a team and communicate with many different types of people of varying ages and backgrounds. It helps you to become a more rounded person and it shows you how to stand on your own two feet.
Recruiting a Digital Marketing Apprentice
We asked John Davis, Chairman and Proprietor, and Walter Davis, Director, why they wanted to take on a Digital Marketing Apprentice and how they’ve found the experience so far.
Why did your company choose to recruit a Digital Marketing Apprentice?
John: Tree Shop produces 3,000 orders a year. Advances in online marketing are rapid and our team of growers and foresters realised that our existing IT support needs continuous new ideas and innovative changes.
Walter: We invested in building a new website and wanted to take advantage of this to drive more business. We use Google AdWords and Pay Per Click but felt we could do so much more. Our ambitions include promoting the business across multiple social media channels and using reviews to encourage more sales and higher value sales. We want to be more proactive in our marketing including email special offers, newsletters, requests for feedback, using Google reviews, Trustpilot and so much more.
What was the apprentice recruitment process like?
John: Quite excellent. We advertised, received 30 responses, shortlisted 11 and virtually interviewed five applicants from mature to young people. This was all organised by Gloucestershire College’s Business Hub team who assisted in every possible way. The advert went on the national apprenticeship website and we were encouraged by the number and the quality of the applicants.
Walter: The Gloucestershire College team were great at helping us define the role of our Digital Marketing Assistant.
Tell us about what Daniel has learnt so far during his apprenticeship and what he will be working on in the future.
Walter: We were overwhelmed with orders during lockdown so for the first months that Dan has worked with us, he has been focusing on fulfilling the existing orders, learning about invoicing, packaging trees for delivery, picking trees and storing trees in our two heeling in bays as well as helping plant thousands of trees.
Dan has spent a lot of time working with Excel and Sage and this has really helped with tracking stock, orders and deliveries. These are very helpful skills. Going forwards, we want Dan to do more with Facebook, listing special offers for special events, helping improve our use of Google AdWords, bringing in Trustpilot and ensuring emails are sent to every customer after their order has been delivered to ask for a review.
Would you recommend investing in apprenticeships to other Gloucestershire businesses?
John: Yes, emphatically. The benefit of training is very much two ways and right from the beginning of the training.
Walter: Yes, definitely. It is a great way to bring in new people and ideas to a business and help it grow.
Hire an apprentice for your business
Awarded ‘Gloucestershire’s Apprenticeship Training Provider of the Year 2020,’ Gloucestershire College is committed to delivering excellence for our apprentices and employers. Our apprenticeship programmes have a range of start dates throughout the year and we can help you recruit an apprentice free of charge.
Apply to become an apprentice with Gloucestershire College
Open to anyone aged 16 or above, apply for your chosen apprenticeship programme through our website and we can help you find a local employer who is looking to recruit new talent. If you are already employed, you can use the apprenticeship scheme to upskill and gain qualifications to boost your career. Explore our programmes and get in touch with our Business Hub team to get started.