Established 10 years ago, Databroker, located in Altrincham, Cheshire is an independent broker of data lists. The organisation now employs 20 staff, taking on Apprentice Katie in 2015. 20 year old Katie Turnbull left school with an impressive 13 GCSEs grades A*-C, 2 A-levels at grade A and a further A-level at grade C. Like many students with clear academic ability, Katie was encouraged to follow the UCAS process and received offers from all six of the universities she applied to. However, Katie knew she wanted to follow a more practical route, finding the idea of university study somewhat unappealing.

Katie attended a careers fair at her school, Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in Altrincham and spoke to a member of staff from The Skills Company. Hearing about the options to progress within Marketing, Katie decided to pursue the practical option rather than accept a place at university. She commented, “University felt like a lot of money to do a course that may not help. I felt it would be better to learn in a practical way. I now have two years’ experience in the industry, which is much more advantageous.”

Katie began her Level 4 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship with Databroker in 2015, having completed a Level 3 Marketing Apprenticeship with The Skills Company and a previous employer. The ability to specifically study a Marketing Apprenticeship is what drew Katie to The Skills Company, with many other providers only offering Business Administration options. The progression routes also appealed to Katie, with the ability to study at a higher level being the biggest draw.

When asked what a typical day involved, Katie explained that she has a busy and varied role, undertaking a range of tasks from running the whole of the social media activity for both Databroker and a sister company, managing a content management system and creating bespoke e-shots for clients. Adding to this, Katie’s manager Robert commented, “Katie is involved in everything. We don’t see her as the Apprentice; she is a fully fledged team member who is involved in everything.” Katie is excelling with Databroker and hopes to climb the marketing ladder and become a Marketing Manager in the near future.

Speaking specifically about the Apprenticeship route, Robert explained that the organisation had a choice of taking on a graduate or an Apprentice. The company opted for an Apprentice as they felt it was a more appropriate fit for the organisation’s future, providing someone with the right skills set, specifically to meet the organisation’s needs. The Apprenticeship route has worked well for Databroker, allowing them to find an enthusiastic young person, who is willing and eager to learn.

Speaking specifically about university fees, Robert commented that today’s high cost of university is “creating a barrier to entry to university for genuinely talented people.” For a role in marketing, the organisation strongly believes that concepts and skills, which often come naturally to young people, are far more important than qualifications. The Apprenticeship opportunity afforded to Katie has allowed someone who is willing, eager to
learn and able to think outside of the box to flourish; skills and qualities essential for success in a marketing role.

Working together, Databroker and The Skills Company have developed a programme that has worked well for both the company and Katie, with course material being supplied in advance to Databroker, allowing them to see what Katie is working on and how best they can utilise that knowledge in-house. The company have regular meetings with Katie’s tutors Nicole and Mark and believe that the relationship is very positive. Katie commented that the “support received from both The Skills Company and Databroker has been fantastic” and she would not hesitate to recommend the Apprenticeship route to others.