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National Apprenticeship Week: “Boosting your knowledge is never a bad thing”

Royal Star & Garter provides an array of apprenticeships, comprising of Business Administration, Team Leader, Management, Care Worker, Housekeeping and Nursing. The charity invests in its staff in recognition of their hard work and dedication, and is currently training 15 apprentices, in Leadership & Management, Registered Nurse, Registered Nursing Associate, Coaching, Data Analyst, Project Management and Digital Marketing. One of the apprentices is Andrew Mitich-Holmes. To mark National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 5-11 February, he explains how his apprenticeship at Royal Star & Garter is giving him the motivation to succeed, and has made him feel “part of the family.”

I’ve always been interested in marketing because of my mum. She’s a registered Chartered Marketer so it’s always been in my background. At school I chose Business as a GCSE option, I was business student of the year at college and I studied Business Management & Marketing at university.

I was really interested when I saw an advert from Royal Star & Garter for a Digital Marketing Officer, and I liked that it was linked to an apprenticeship. I had heard of Royal Star & Garter before but didn’t know too much about it. I researched into the charity and saw its strong military links, and that really struck a chord with me because it’s something I’m passionate about, as my family have a big military background. I was also keen because of the marketing side, and especially digital marketing. I didn’t think this was my strongest point as I’d always been taught traditional marketing. I thought this would be a nice challenge. It was the best of both worlds because it’s doing work I’m interested in, with an organisation I’m also attracted to.

It’s now been seven months since I started, and I love it. My typical day involves searching our platforms for social media content, or creating our own social media content. This means I get to see lots of photos and videos of residents, so I feel I know them even though I may not have met them yet! Other jobs include uploading vacancies on our website, and putting together Google Analytics reports.

Wednesday is my apprenticeship day. It’s when I focus on assignments, and if I don’t have an assignment, or I’m up to date with my work, I do off-the-job training to better myself in my role and to gain a deeper understanding my work.

I am studying a Level 3 Digital Marketers apprenticeship through Professional Academy, and I really enjoy it. It’s an 18-month course and it teaches you a variety of skills that you need to know for digital marketing. The assignments are good and I have extra reading which is quite similar to my university degree. We also have workshops, where I get to speak to real-life practitioners, who share their knowledge – they’re really great at relating what they teach you into the everyday workplace, which I find quite insightful.

The apprenticeship really helps me with my work. I wouldn’t understand half the things I do in my job without it. It fills the gap that I need, and it gives me the extra motivation.

I should finish my apprenticeship at the end of 2024, and looking ahead, I want to follow in my mum’s footsteps and become a registered Chartered Marketer. And I want to continue my career at Royal Star & Garter. I love lots of things about working here, but the thing I love most is going into the Homes and spending time with the residents and getting to know them. They remind me of my grandad and grandma. I was quite young when my grandad passed away, and I see him in the residents.

When I started at Royal Star & Garter, I was told that ‘we are a big family’. That was something I was also told in a previous job, and it wasn’t necessarily what I felt. But it’s completely different here. You see the love and compassion in the Homes. And I also get that family-feel from my colleagues in Central Services. I’m still relatively new, but I’m treated with respect and my views and thoughts are valued. No one laughs at my opinion or pushes me to do things I don’t want to do.

I’d always recommend an apprenticeship, because boosting your knowledge is never a bad thing. And I’m lucky to be doing my apprenticeship with Royal Star & Garter, because it’s an organisation which really believes in investing in its people. They invest in you, and the help I’ve received is amazing.

If you are interested in an apprenticeship at Royal Star & Garter, please email Malcolm at malcolm.brown@starandgarter.org

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