Interview: Aadil Seedat, technical developer apprentice

Apprentice Eye recently caught up with Aadil Seedat, apprentice at Notch Communications. He has been working as a technical developer apprentice for three months studying towards a digital marketing qualification through training provider Arch.

How did you hear about apprenticeships and what made you decide to do one? 

I first heard about apprenticeships in year 11 when I was deciding which college to go to.

At that time it didn’t appeal to me and the general conversation about apprenticeships was negative. Apprenticeships were thought to be a waste of time because you were not guaranteed a job and the qualification you gained wasn’t considered to be enough. Now I realise we should have been better informed!

Then, during my first year of college, a close friend of mine started an apprenticeship in IT and he told me about the unlimited opportunities he was introduced to. This really caught my attention and I started searching around for apprenticeship companies.

After a long time searching I found Arch Apprenticeships in Manchester. Arch seemed really great and they also have contacts with some big firms, such as Google and Facebook. Arch managed to get me many interviews that suited my preferences.  After a couple of interviews, I found a job that I could see myself in. I left college and began working as a Technical Developer for Notch Communications, an international marketing agency.

Many young people assume that as an apprentice they will be given mundane, insignificant tasks.  What would you say to these people?  

When you begin your apprenticeship you’re generally given a line manger to report to daily or weekly. They will manage your schedule and introduce you to new tasks.

I wouldn’t say all apprenticeships are the same, but I was given the chance to get involved in various tasks in my first week. Notch has bright, family-like, open plan offices, which enabled me to engage in what everyone is doing, to get a greater understanding and experience of how we function. At Notch I’m learning not only about digital marketing and technical development, but also having to learn about some of the scientific, chemical and pharmaceutical industries that Notch’s clients operate in.

Working for Notch made me realise that there are no limits to what tasks you can do during your apprenticeship, and I now contribute to Notch’s client projects on a daily basis.

We work with very big companies with multi-million pound marketing budgets and there’s no better feeling than when your clients are happy with your own work!

Do you find balancing work with study challenging?  

Balancing my theory and practical work is as I expected it to be. When I started my apprenticeship I was given an annual criteria of all the units I must complete throughout the year in order to get my Level 3 qualification in Digital Marketing. This allowed me to work ahead and use my practical work as evidence for my theory, to show that I am implementing what I’m learning during my study sessions.  So balancing work and studying couldn’t be easier.

Have you been assigned a mentor and if so, how are they helping you through the apprenticeship?

When I started my apprenticeship I was assigned a line manager. I report to my line manager everyday and she sets me tasks and gives me deadlines to meet.  My line manager will make sure I am working towards my goals step by step and is there if I need guidance or anything.  She will give me feedback and ways I could improve my work.

However, as I am progressing at Notch and I am now becoming more independent, I am learning to manage my own timings, tasks and deadlines.

I also have an apprentice advisor at Arch. My apprentice advisor is there if I have any issues or concerns and will check up on my progress at Notch. We will keep in contact on a weekly basis to ensure my theory work is up to quality and speed.

It’s great to have someone show you the ropes and introduce you to a whole new adventure.

What are you hoping to get out of your apprenticeship?   

The only thing I hope to gain is the opportunity. There are many opportunities that have come with my apprenticeship. Firstly, there is the opportunity to witness all aspects of marketing first-hand and get involved in working on some major projects.

Secondly, there is the opportunity to work with some amazing, inspirational people. Notch has people from various academic backgrounds, areas and ages with amazing talents.

Thirdly, there is the opportunity to make my ideas go far. Notch works as an open creative team, which means everyone’s ideas are heard and put into action. I now see my work being used in huge worldwide business campaigns.

Finally, I hope to get the opportunity to progress further with Notch after my apprenticeship and realise my ambitions for a rewarding career in digital marketing.

What advice would you give to young people unsure whether or not to go to university or do an apprenticeship?

I am very thankful with where I am now and I have no regrets. I already hold an experience that will be fruitful for the rest of my life.

I have got the chance to work for experienced and influential figures in marketing and gained a large amount of insight into the marketing industry in a short space of time.

During an apprenticeship you progress ahead of most people in your industry because you start at a young age and you’ll be exposed to more, giving you a better advantage over the rest.

There are no limits in what you can achieve in an apprenticeship. If it looks and sounds good then grab the opportunity with both hands.