An Apprentice’s guide to London this Christmas!

An Apprentice’s guide to London this Christmas!

 

December has been here a week and it’s time to get Christmassy! To help you have yourself a merry little Christmas, we’ve decided to help you out with a list of the BEST and most AWESOME things to do and places to see in London this winter!

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park

I don’t know about you, but my Christmas holiday would NOT be complete without a trip to Winter Wonderland!

Winter Wonderland is an AWESOME place to go if you’re looking  to get yourself in the festive mood, and it’s FREE to enter! Head over to Hyde park and have everything from thrilling fairground rides and ice skating, to charming Christmas markets and family shows!

Ice Rink, Somerset House

Get your skates on at Somerset House’s AWESOME 18th-century courtyard ice rink this month! Even if you can’t skate, go with friends and have fun learning, there’s no better place to begin.

Christmas Night Market,

Maltby Street

It may be cold outside but Maltby Street’s festive after-dark markets promise warming drinks & Christmassy treats. Beneath Bermondsey’s railway arches, the AMAZING  food market will run every Friday in the run-up to Christmas. Guests can enjoy festive dishes from around the world and sip on wine while listening to carol singers. If this doesn’t make you feel festive, nothing will!

Carnaby Street

Once the most swinging street in London and still amongst its most fashionable, Carnaby and its sister streets are well worth a visit during the festive season. Discover endless opportunities to shop for all sorts of gifts at a range of flagship shops and indie boutiques. And how about heading around the corner to visit Oxford Circus to see the wonderful lights?

How To Do Christmas For Less as an Apprentice

How To Do Christmas For Less as an Apprentice

It’s that time of year everyone! Halloween has passed, the festive season adverts have appeared, and the sound of Xmas jingles begin to follow you around the high street shops and restaurants.

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. But for an apprentice like myself, it can also hit my bank account more than any other month of the year.

Last December, from my calculations, I spent well over £400. In the grand scheme of things that seems a reasonably small amount. However, that amount is nearly half of the average apprentice’s monthly salary.

Often when buying gifts you find yourself impulse buying because you see a price that you think is ‘reasonable’ or you’re just feeling the pressure to ensure you get each and everyone on your list a gift. Here are our top five tips on how to have an AWESOME Christmas for less!

Black Friday

Black Friday is a great opportunity to get AWESOME gifts at even more AWESOME prizes!

But don’t settle on the first bargain you see! Whilst the saving may look good, companies often have promo codes to use in conjunction with Back Friday offers.

A few good websites I found for promo codes are:

 https://www.hotukdeals.com/vouchers

https://www.vouchercodes.co.uk

https://www.independent.co.uk/vouchercodes

Budget

Set a budget before you go shopping. Whether it is the price per gift or the grand total of a shop. A budget is always useful to make sure you don’t overspend and can financially afford everything you buy!

Sharing is Caring

Remember a gift is a gift! However big or small or within any price range, it’s the thought that counts!

Look for Bargains

Don’t impulse buy! If you’ve missed out on Black Friday, you’ve got time to investigate and shop around for bargains. Once you put items into your basket, search for them on Google Shopping just to make sure you can’t get them cheaper elsewhere.

Apprenticeship Perks

As an apprentice, you can apply for an NUS apprentice extra card for hundreds of savings all year round. This includes 10% off at Co-op (which could be useful for Christmas dinner), 40% off with National Express (if you’re traveling long distances during the festive season) and 10% off at New Look both online and instore.

 

 

If you’re thinking of BECOMING an apprentice, click on the link below and find out how!

LDN Apprenticeships #WomenInTech @ Aspect Capital

LDN Apprenticeships #WomenInTech @ Aspect Capital

Did you know only 17% of the current roles in tech within the UK are filled by women?

We are inundated with applications at LDN Apprenticeships from young women looking to kickstart their career in tech roles such as Software Development, Digital Marketing and IT & Support.

There is currently a 50/50 split of male and female applicants for our pathways. So why is there such a gap in diversity within the current tech workplace in the UK? It’s time for something to change and bridge the diversity gap!

We teamed up with Aspect Capital to provide a unique work experience day for seven AWESOME young software development candidates who applied for an apprenticeship with us! The day was packed with talks, Q&A sessions and workshops provided by the top tech talent currently working within the tech department at Aspect Capital. They were able to provide valuable insight into their experiences in becoming a software developer and the roles and tasks they play within the company.
My’a Douglas and Emily Bamford were two of the young women who attended on the day and found the workshops and talks hugely beneficial as part of their early development into starting a career in software development.

“I found the whole day very informative and professional” said Emily.

 

“I’m going to go away with a lot of information and feel a lot more confident in going home and doing my own coding! It will also help me generate more ideas and conduct more research into software development.”

My’a agreed that the knowledge she’s going to take away from the day and the workshops they participated in were hugely beneficial and completely different to what she has previously done!

I really enjoyed today! It was a lot different to what I’ve previously learnt and I’ve gained more hand on experience and learnt new languages as well!

 

I loved the workshops and what I learnt from them but it was also interesting to see how the company works and what roles software developers play in Aspect Capital.

Gemma Hagen is the lead developer within the software development team at Aspect Capital and being one of the 17% of women currently working in tech within the UK, was the perfect person to give advice and call on her own personal experiences.

 “We wanted to give them a bit of insight into what type of opportunities there are in the industry and what being a software developer is like.

 

I think software is still unfortunately stereotyped as an industry that is better suited to males. 

 

Obviously, I am a girl in software development and I strong heartedly disagree with that notion!

 

Anything that encourages women into the industry is hugely beneficial for everyone in it.”

Events like our #WomenInTech work experience day at Aspect Capital go long way in helping bridge the diversity gap and end the stigma surrounding the tech industry that still exists.

Allowing our candidates to experience and spend time with those who currently work within the tech industry on a professional platform gives them an opportunity that many young women before them may not have had.

The next step is now getting these eager and enthusiastic young women into tech roles across London and allowing companies to reap the benefits of injecting fresh talent into their teams and futureproofing their business.

Thank you to everyone at Aspect Capital and to the seven AWESOME young women who attended on the day and made it such a rewarding event to put on. It’s time to bridge the diversity gap!

If you’re thinking of HIRING an apprentice with us, click on the link below to discover more!

If you’re thinking of BECOMING an apprentice, click on the link below and find out how!

The Pros in Hiring School Leavers

The Pros in Hiring School Leavers

Many businesses that don’t traditionally employ school leavers have understandable concerns about working with 16 to 19 year-olds, but are they fair?  

I have worked alongside school leavers for most of my career. From student recruitment at the Telegraph and The Independent to my time at UCAS and finally in my current role at the LDN Apprenticeships, I feel I have built up a good understanding of the pros and cons.

At London Apprenticeships, we know that young people have the potential to help companies become better versions of themselves, to grow and to be more forward thinking. Quite often, however, our clients have concerns about hiring apprentices.

 

They Are A Blank Slate

School leavers may not have all the skills you want. But with the support of a good apprenticeship provider and a great manager, they will develop all the skills they need, tailored to the needs of the business.

You also have the flexibility to identify skills and aptitudes as your apprentice grows into their role and to adapt it accordingly. Graduates are not always equipped with the specific skills you need, and they have more rigid expectations about the job they expect to be doing.

For example, Computer Science graduates have the highest unemployment rates at 14% of any graduate despite the digital skills gap.  Why? They just don’t have the skills employers actually need.

They Have A Unique Perspective

Don’t be afraid of a young person’s different perspective, especially if your workforce is generally older. The perspective a young person offers can give fresh impetus to your business and allow you to reach a much wider audience.

They Question How Things Are Done 

They are eager to learn. If something is done in a way they are unsure of, they want to know why.  This might be initially frustrating, but they only ask because they are keen to learn and understand. Sometimes a little bit of naivety can be a good thing! Conversely how often do you question current processes? Perhaps there is a better way to do things? A school leaver could be the person to spark the process of improving.

They Approach Problems Differently 

With an innate understanding of modern technology, young people have a fountain of knowledge at their fingertips and the know-how to access it.  This can lead to solutions you would not normally have thought of.  It’s always good to have options.

Understand How Their Peers Communicate 

If you want to reach a youthful audience, young apprentices can be ideal for this. The way their peers communicate can give you a great insight into which channels and language to use. Just be aware that not all young people are the same!

Futureproof Your Business 

Quite simply, having flow continuous flow of new, young people into your business is the best way to futureproof it. Fresh ideas and new skills come with your apprentices. Apprentices represent a cost-effective means of bridging the digital skills gap. Because you’ve given them the opportunity, they’re loyal and totally invested in your business.

 

These are just some of the positives – of course, there are many more.

Keep an eye out for my next piece where I’ll be discussing some of the challenges that our clients face when hiring school leavers and how working with LDN Apprenticeships can help to overcome them.

Why We Chose To Refresh Our Brand! LDN Group to LDN Apprenticeships

Why We Chose To Refresh Our Brand! LDN Group to LDN Apprenticeships

 

In case you haven’t heard, on 24 September, LDN Group will become LDN Apprenticeships! This is a big and exciting step for us and I thought it would be useful to share some of our thinking about why we’ve chosen to make this change. 

 

When I joined the company, one of the first things we set out to do was to understand how our brand looked to the outside world. Quite frankly, it was a bit of a mess. We had our main brand – LDN Group – and three sub-brands (Future LDN, Tech City Stars and Enterprise LDN).

 

In many cases, this meant that we had three or even four different social accounts with different followings, messages, content and relevance. We also had four websites targeting different customer segments – a maintenance nightmare!

 

It meant that we were unable to guide people to one place to find out everything they needed to know about what we do. It also felt like we had to explain what each of our sub-brands was there for and what we did as a company more generally. 

 

It wasn’t all bad though. We love the fact that the “LDN” in our name reflects our tireless commitment to making a difference to the lives of young Londoners and we didn’t want to lose this focus. 

 

So, after much deliberation and discussion with people in the business, customers and students, we settled on a very simple change to the company name. Becoming ‘LDN Apprenticeships’ makes what we do very clear to anyone who chooses to engage with us.

 

It does what it says on the tin. And by changing the name of our Tech City Stars programme to Tech LDN, we’ve not only done away with a somewhat dated term, we’ve also brought consistency to our sub-brands. 

 

Having settled on the name, it was on to the fun stuff – our new look and feel was a difficult process to get our heads around. We wanted to look young and fun enough to appeal to the awesome young people who are looking for apprenticeships with us, but at the same time, we needed to present a professional, almost corporate, image to our clients – the companies who take on apprentices. After several iterations, we settled on this logo: 

 

 

The arrow incorporated into the ‘LDN’ is moving forwards and upwards. This movement is a representation of the direction of travel of each of the apprentices we support. Similarly, it represents forward-thinking businesses who are committed to investing in the future and moving their business forward by embracing apprenticeships.  

 

Our apprentices help businesses to grow and become more diverse, inclusive and successful. And the apprentices themselves kickstart a career they’ll love. For us, the arrow represents all of the positive forward motion our work creates. 

 

The rebrand, in turn, has also given us an opportunity to build a completely new website. When it launches, the new site will be the best place to find out everything you need to know about LDN Apprenticeships, whether you’re a candidate or a business looking to hire an apprentice.  

 

So How Did We Go About It? 

 

Where did we start!? 

 

Once we realised we wanted to go ahead with the rebrand, we went to a Brand Workshop hosted by Michael Murdoch of The House at the British Library.  

 

We liked the workshop so much that we decided to get Michael and his team at The House to work with us on our rebrand! 

 

The first thing Michael asked us to do was complete a ‘Brand Health Check’ and ‘Creative Brief’. This got all of us on the same wavelength and helped Michael to learn more about what we do. In turn, this meant he was able to align his thinking with where we were heading as a brand.  

 

After a number of meetings and Skype sessions, we eventually got to a point where Michael and his team supplied us with three brand new logos.  

 

Each of these logos represented LDN Apprenticeships well but we liked the idea of the arrow in one of the designs, so we then went through another round of designs that incorporated the arrow.  

 

You can see below the gradual progression from the first design to our final design!   

As you can see, the biggest aspect that changed from the first round is the font used. We wanted to use a font that was slightly more professional, but also kept the upward curve of the arrow within the ‘LDN’. 

 

We had also realised a colour pallet we wanted to use as well. We were set on our main and primary colour being a strong blue and paired that with a much softer blue. 

 

Once we had our main colours, it was a matter of choosing what colours would complement them for our Future LDN, Tech LDN and Enterprise LDN sub brands. 

 

Again, we wanted these to be strong, distinctive colours as well as fitting in well with the blue colours we had already picked. 

 

Below you can see our final choices! 

It’s been really great to hear so many compliments from our clients, apprentices and partners about the new brand. 

 

This is a huge moment for LDN Apprenticeships and we’re very excited to start the next big chapter in our story.

 

We hope you like our new brand, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with our clients and apprentices as we continue to help AWESOME businesses find and develop AWESOME young employees.  

Five Tips On How To Harness Gen-Z Talent To Supercharge Your Marketing Efforts.

Five Tips On How To Harness Gen-Z Talent To Supercharge Your Marketing Efforts.

Hire a digital marketing apprentice, they say!  

Young people today are digital natives, they’ve grown up with social media, they’re …. digital natives! 

Seldom has a statement been more misleading than this one. The truth is that it’s very unlikely that a young person will be able to walk into your business and take over the management of your digital marketing single handed.  

So why is digital marketing one of the most popular apprenticeships around for employers and young people? And how can you effectively harness the talent of a young person to supercharge your marketing efforts? 

First, you need to stop being led by the myth. The average aspiring digital marketer is not going to have the vast knowledge required to effectively build and execute your digital campaigns on their own. They will, at the very least, need the support and guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable manager. Along with a working environment where they can learn all the skills that good digital marketers need to have. 

Second, you should look for young people who have experience outside of social media platforms, and focus your attention on those who can demonstrate how they have harnessed the power of social media to create something.  This could be anything from building a following on a YouTube channel to making, marketing and selling products online.  

Here at LDN Apprenticeships, we meet young people on a daily basis who have done just this. It’s not on their CV and in some cases they are even shy or embarrassed to share their achievements. 

That said, these are the young people who have applied their creativity to a real world situation and who have made something as a result. Be it a product, a following or a movement – these young people have the skills you need in your business.  

If you make the decision to hire one of these brilliant, creative young people there are some important things to consider in the process. Here are our 5 top tips: 

 

1. Make sure you identify an awesome manager 

Your Apprentice Digital Marketer will spend at least 80% of their time at work. You want to be sure that while they’re there, they’re learning new things, taking action and improving. The best way to make this work is to identify a manager who will give the apprentice the support and guidance they need. Combined with the support of your apprenticeship provider, you’ll be astonished at how much your apprentice learns in a very short space of time. 

 

2. Define the role to fill skills gaps in your existing team 

Make sure you look at your current marketing skill set. Then try to recruit an apprentice who fills some of the gaps. If you’re weak on video production, actively seek a young person who’s a talented video editor. Or if you think you could do with a boost to your copywriting capacity, look for a young person who gets your tone and writes well. Approaching it in this way, means you’re actively avoiding the pitfalls of the mythical digital native. 

 

3. Look for a self-starter 

When you meet candidates for the opportunity, talk to them about what they have done with their passion for all things digital. Have they studied something outside of school or college (there are a wealth of free and very well publicised online courses)? Have they started a business of their own? Or have they helped a friend with their digital savvy-ness. Taking action is the first step – the thing to work out is if you can harness that initiative. 

4. Put rules and structure in place to measure and manage 

When you’ve hired your apprentice, make sure you’ve got a structure in place. Making it easy to measure and manage performance. Most people (young ones included) respond incredibly positively. Knowing the why, the what, the how and the when of their job. Make this incredibly clear from the outset.

5. Give direct feedback and reward success 

If you are successful in doing 1, 2, 3 and 4, then you’ll find yourself a talented young person who is eager to learn and take action. No matter how talented they are, they will still make mistakes. It is critical that when they do, you give them direct feedback. The ability to take feedback is critical to learning and development. Finally, just as you give direct feedback, you should also reward success. This doesn’t mean throwing bonuses around, it just means giving praise when praise is due. 

 

Digital marketing will always be evolving on a day to day basis.

Recruiting young apprentices are a great way to discover new and exciting marketing opportunities for your business. Keeping one of your most important outputs to the world fresh and up-to-date.

To learn more about hiring a digital marketing apprentice into your team, check out our Tech LDN digital marketing program HERE.