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Sean’s story – an accidental relationship with marketing.

Reading my manager’s post on his journey so far inspired me to write my own story – How I ended up becoming a marketing apprentice at 26.

 

Written by Sean Sturgeon (Marketing)

In 2010 left school at the end of Year 11. With 12 GCSEs and genuinely no idea what I would be doing for work. All I knew is that the teaching system at the time wasn’t really for me. When it comes to learning new things, I prefer to be shown, not told. At that time, I didn’t feel like carrying on my education so I decided to find a job.

My first job was as a call center operator. I can laugh about this now but the first call I ever made, I was told to ‘f*** ***’. Ever since that call (ironic how it was the first) I couldn’t wait to leave. Even though that line of work wasn’t particularly for me, I did gain two things during my 6 months in the role:

  1. It gave me a lot of confidence. Giving me the experience to deal with ‘uncomfortable’ situations at a young  age definitely helped!
  2. It made me tick one career path off the list.

 

After the call centre operator role, I started work doing business administration for a building company. This role provided me with two things:

1. Dealing with ‘builders banter’ (which really gives you a steel turtle shell)

2. The organisational structure of a business.

The second point was massive for me, as it made me understand, just what goes into the day to day of business. Making me really appreciate the guys behind the curtain.

While I was in this role, I turned 18. I was already working in my second role. Due to the contract running out I was unable to continue the position, therefore I was forced to search for a third job.

It was this new job in particular that made me start to fall in love with Digital Marketing.

After taking part in a three day residential in the lake district with 76, 16-24-year-olds. 13 were chosen to become Community Well-being Apprentices. This role was absolutely brilliant. I was working in the Anfield and Everton communities working on a plethora of projects to help both areas. This was a massively gratifying role as I was helping to improve the areas of where I have lived all of my life.

Projects consisted of weekly bingo halls for the elderly and community gardening amongst others, but it was one project in particular which made me fall in love with marketing. Social Media promotion for the MYA Association Food Bank, and Kenyon Fraser’s Talent Match.

Both projects we’re to help the marketing skills of younger people, whilst giving back to the community. Those who wished to take part in Kenyon Fraser’s project would attend every Thursday to come up with social media strategies and events. This was my first proper taste of networking. At first, I didn’t really enjoy it, but as I grew more confident as each week progressed, I loved doing it.

Meeting new people to me is both interesting and exciting. For anyone who suffers from anxiety during events like networking, here’s some advice I was told: ‘Everyone is the same whilst sitting down in a private cubical’. This really resonated with me as a person growing up in Anfield, and suddenly attending what would seem as ‘posh’ networking events at the Maritime Museum etc wasn’t so scary or ‘posh’ anymore. What I learned was, everyone who is there, are all feeling the exact same thing. It’s just some have more experience than others.

After the Community Well-being Apprenticeship finished, I acquired my first job as a Digital Marketer. I was a Growth Hacker for a web development company in the City Center. This job was literally ‘learn as you go’. The time I spent writing content for websites was the most gratifying tasks I have experienced in any job up to this point. I have always had a passion for writing, despite having a very ‘loose’ writing style. I hope it resonates with people.

During the four and a half years I spent in the role I learnt what SEO was (and stood for!) and various ways to help boost page rankings for a plethora of companies, all in different areas. Ultimately, towards the end of my time there, I did learn the basics of marketing yes. But I felt like I couldn’t grow. 

That’s until August 2019. Early July 2019, I had an interview at Avenue HQ on the Albert Dock for Foursquare Group. The position was for a Digital Marketing Apprentice and I knew I needed this position. At this time, the business was only 6 months old, and looking at the potential and creatively freeing space the job had – I loved it already!

This was also, the only time I had been given a position on the same day as attending the interview (it was almost like it was meant to be). Tuesday 20th August, I started. The first task I was given was to understand StoryBrand, and how our businesses uses this model to create prioritise our customers above everything else. This was a very eye-opening task as I instantly knew who we are and how we want to be seen in the digital space.

Come 6 (nearly 7) months into my apprenticeship and I can honestly say deciding to become an apprentice again at the age of 26 has been one of the most gratifying choices in my working career by a country mile! I have a creatively satisfying role, with a supportive boss and time to learn my craft.

I never knew my place in the working world, and after 8 years and 5 jobs – I can honestly say this is the happiest I have been in a role, me and marketing started as a surprise relationship. Now it’s a happy marriage.

My goal for 2020 is to pass the apprenticeship (hopefully at the highest level) and become a full-time ‘Media & PR Director’ for Foursquare Group.

What are your goals for 2020? What has your working career been like so far? Please let me know in the comments – I would love to know. As always I appreciate you taking the time to read our blog posts, technical, opinion pieces or personal journeys.

Thank you all for reading, and hopefully see you in the next blog post.

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