My Story of Becoming an Apprentice at an Edinburgh PR Agency
Thursday, October 6th, 2016
How I became the next young hopeful at an Edinburgh PR Agency
MANY of you may know the BBC show ‘The Apprentice’ in which pre-selected candidates fight to get their business plan the backing of Alan Sugar’s enviable wealth. I detail how I got through the Apprentice process at an Edinburgh PR Agency without ever having to face off Sir Alan.
You may know the process of the candidates staying together in a luxury home in London, or on the odd occasion travelling the world – to attempt their very own ‘innovative’ idea to market and sell a brand or product.
OK – so for the completely uninitiated, each episode follows a simple agenda. A team leader is chosen within two groups and a brief is given. The brief can range from creating a whole new brand of ice cream to selling high end property, via a mad dash to find obscure products in a Dubai shopping mall.
At the end of each episode, a candidate from the most dismal team over the episode, is then eliminated after a gruelling and humiliating interview – usually culminating in Lord Sugar’s dispatching at least one of the less convincing troupe, with his trademark: ‘you’re fired!’
What does BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’ have to do with anything?
While publicity is currently ramping up for the new series making it especially hard to avoid, a lot of people remain oblivious to the vast range of bona fide apprenticeships available.
As valued as they are, there aren’t just apprenticeships in construction or hairdressing and engineering and finance apprenticeships are available to name a few. In my case, I’m working a Public Relations apprenticeship – although they appear particularly rare.
Before I had even considered an apprenticeship I had worked in a few different jobs, but none of them serious. Working at Edinburgh Castle’s concerts which involved looking after and setting up dressing rooms for the musicians playing. I also worked at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay which involved mostly the same agenda, only it happened to be a little colder.
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How I managed to pass the test of the Boardroom
Believe it or not, the process was not too dissimilar to that of The Apprentice! After having arrived at Holyrood PR, an Edinburgh PR Agency I was shown their equivalent of the famed ‘boardroom’ in which I was interviewed.
They started asking questions about my background and why I was interested in the PR field of work. I was quick to understand that this is very much a people industry which reflected in the interview. I was confident it went well but you can never be sure what the interviewer is really thinking. To my surprise, I heard back from the company later that same day to be told I would be starting the following week.
The First Day
Arriving for my first day as an apprentice PR assistant was daunting, meeting new faces in a foreign environment and also being the youngest by at least a few years wasn’t helping the fact I was nervous. I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of candidates on The Apprentice felt the same way as I did, but with no university or work experience I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of candidates were far more confident.
After being taken under the wing by Kallan, the young outgoing apprentice, heading for pastures new at Aberdeen Asset Management, I was starting to learn the ropes, although these ‘ropes’ happened to be tough and challenging. It wasn’t what I was learning that I found difficult but the sheer amount of knowledge that I had taken in by lunch time was mind-blowing, almost literally!
Looking to the Future
My past experience of work is from the complete other side of the spectrum. The atmosphere in an office type job is very different from what I’m used to. Instead of having to build a dressing room for a band, I’m writing a blog about the process of becoming an apprentice. This has shown me, and surprised me, at how versatile I am.
Now what I’m really looking forward to working in the PR Industry is noticing a change in my perspective of PR. Before I knew it as someone outside a nightclub handing out flyers, but now I know there’s something much bigger behind the term. I’m still to learn a lot within the industry but I know, from what I’ve done so far, I’m going to enjoy it.
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