It’s National Apprenticeship Week! Meet Theo, Barbal’s Digital Marketing Apprentice

A headshot of Theo standing in front of a brick wall
This week is #NationalApprenticeshipWeek and to celebrate we are speaking to our very own digital marketing apprentice Theo Tay-Lodge. Theo started as Barbal’s first full-time employee in January 2020 in a business administration role, in December 2020 he joined Working Knowledge’s digital marketing apprenticeship scheme and became Barbal’s Marketing Assistant. We are going to find out about his story.

What made you decide to take up the apprenticeship?

I joined Barbal about 6 months after I had finished my psychology degree, and although I the subject I didn’t know how I wanted to apply it in a career. I started at Barbal in an admin role; I enjoyed the role and getting to know the business, but I felt that I could contribute more. So I spoke to my line manager Tom (Barbal co-founder and CEO), and we discussed my options. Tom suggested the opportunity to join Working Knowledge’s digital marketing course and I jumped at the chance. I think one of the main misconceptions about an apprenticeship is that they are only for those who have just finished school or who are not academic, or they are wrongly seen as not being as valuable as a degree. I have found the skills I have learnt throughout the apprenticeship to be just as important as the skills I picked up during my degree.

How has the apprenticeship impacted your work?

Although I’m only three months in, the apprenticeship has already had a massive positive impact on my work. The work I do now, not only allows me to personally develop my skill set but it also adds creativity to the company. It has given me the opportunity to reap the benefits of career progression whilst providing a real-time impact on Barbal’s business, by bridging the marketing skill gap needed by the business. During the COVID pandemic when many have gone through a period of uncertainty, Working Knowledge’s digital marketing apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to retrain and boost my career.

I have been lucky enough to have great support from both the team at Barbal and Working Knowledge. This support has given me greater self-confidence and responsibility in my role at Barbal allowing for a reciprocal benefit from the skills that I am learning. As Barbal is a young start-up there was a natural skill-gap in marketing for the company. The marketing apprenticeship is providing me with applied knowledge, and I like to think that the organisation is learning about digital marketing in-parallel with me. Learning digital marketing parallel with Barbal as a business has given me a strong sense of responsibility and purpose with the business.

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt from your apprenticeship?

For me, the most valuable skills or skills I have picked up during this course are gaining an understanding of the customer buyer’s journey, understanding the value and learning how to provide the answers to customers’ needs at every stage, and learning how to guide customers toward making a buying decision. Understanding the process of customers thinking and tailoring their experience through the information we provide them is an invaluable skill to have in a business. Gaining this knowledge and skills from the apprenticeship not only providing Barbal with a new approach to marketing but also is giving me a sense of accomplishment. Applying this learning to the business has been really fluid as the team at Barbal have been ever willing to learn with me.

Anything else to add?

I would add that joining this apprenticeship has given me a new constructive outlook on my personal career progression and future at Barbal. I’m looking forward to enhancing my learning in digital marketing and applying this knowledge in the organisation. I would encourage anyone to consider an apprenticeship, it’s a fantastic way to gain transferable skills to gain more confidence in a working environment, especially if you’re thinking of career change like I was. #buildthefuture