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Au’Guest’ Blog Post – 10 Things You Won’t Learn In A Classroom

Written by Paul Gunn, Social Business Apprentice at Bloom Worldwide as part of the of the Wired Sussex guest blog month.

Before leaving college I had to make the decision of whether to go to university or to look for a job.  If I continued with my education I knew that I wanted to chose a social media course but I was worried, not only about the massive cost and debt I’d incur but also the competition I’d come up against once graduated.

I was introduced to a program through DV8 that would enable me to learn on the job, get paid and gain qualifications at the end of it.  This is when I decided to become an Apprentice, not the Alan Sugar kind of Apprentice but a Social Business Apprentice at BLOOM Worldwide.

BLOOM Worldwide is a digital agency based in the heart of Brighton, specialising in social media.  My position at BLOOM is called a Social Business Apprentice and my role is really varied and includes using social listening tools, data analysis, creating insight, writing blogs and helping manage BLOOM’s online communities.  All of these tasks have an impact and are essential to the day to day running of a thriving agency.  When it comes to learning, there’s always the theory but you can’t beat the real thing.

Check out my top 10 things you won’t learn in the classroom.

  1. TOOLS: Using tools for live client projects – I work with a variety of tools such as Synthesio (social media monitoring tool) and SocialBakers (social media analytics tool) in order to gain insights which will be used by the team for our reports.
  1. ON THE JOB TRAINING: Actually learning on the job is far more powerful as you can apply what you have learnt in a practical way.  You’re learning from the best rather than reading from an outdated textbook.
  1. TEAM WORK: Although at Uni you sometimes have group projects, you’re pretty much flying solo.  Whereas, in the workplace it’s all about working as a team.  All projects at BLOOM require team work and it’s great to see how each person plays their part.
  1. AGE:  It’s great to be in an environment with a varying age demographic and has definitely been an eye opener.
  1. LEADERSHIP:  It’s great to have gained experience with working and taking direction from all members of the team from Junior Analysts to Senior Management.
  1. CLIENTS:  These are the people that matter the most, they are the reason we do what do and when dealing with them you have to be professional.  You will never gain this experience in a classroom and it takes a lot of practice and sometimes nerves of steel.
  1. DEADLINES: Learning to deal with client deadlines is definitely a new one for me as at college/university you’re given a deadline and more often than not there can be some flexibility, however, with a client you know it could easily be moved at any time.
  1. STRATEGY:  Helping or being part of implementing business strategies can on really be learnt ‘on the job’ as you can see how your role contributes to the larger goal.
  1.  INITIATIVE:  Unable to alter a syllabus, I am able to play a part in setting the direction of the business to better meet it objectives.

10.  THE BIG ONE:  I never knew there were so many coffee addicts out there.

My Apprenticeship is due to finish in December and I’m hoping that I’ll get my “Paul, you’re hired!” moment.

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