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Thomas James, 38, has always been a voracious learner, undertaking a variety of apprenticeships throughout his career. From a Level 4 qualification in Leadership & Management to a Level 3 Business Administration, he has a wealth of knowledge and experience under his belt!

As Project Coordinator for Cwmpas, an economic development agency Thomas was keen to expand his social media knowledge further and signed up for aLevel 3 Social Media for Business qualification.

“I was looking to undertake something new and social media was an area of my role where I felt I could learn more. For me, the qualification offered a free learning opportunity which I’d be accredited for at the end of it.”

The Level 3 Social Media for Business Apprenticeship supports learners in developing various digital media skills that can be transferable across many sectors. Equipping learners with the skills knowledge and competency to support business systems, processes and services, the qualification enables learners to use social media in a more efficient and productive way.

Speaking about the qualification, Thomas commented, “I’ve really enjoyed the qualification and liked that I got to pick and choose the units that best suited my work needs. There are mandatory units to cover your core knowledge but then there’s a huge choice around the units you can tailor fit around you. It enables you to both grow your knowledge and your confidence at the same time.

“For me learning about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and increasing brand visibility was essential learning for engagement. The outcome is that I’ve adapted my approach and engagement with my network has really improved without necessarily advertising.”

Thomas is a firm advocator of upskilling on the job and believes apprenticeships are a smart and savvy choice for anyone looking to boost their career progression – especially in the current economic climate.

I’ve always had a big drive and ambition to improve my education. I knew I was worthy of a meaningful career and greater opportunities and recognised I needed to demonstrate that to make it happen. I took the advantage of free training in Wales!

“I’ve seen a shift from wanting specific A ‘Levels and degrees when hiring, to businesses like Cwmpas that want people to have a good standard of education which is representative of the role you’re going for. This is where apprenticeships come in massively! I’ve not got a degree in Management but I do have a range of qualifications in Leadership & Management, Business Administration and now social media. It makes up a nice package of skills!

Social Media particularly, is vital in today’s market place as it allows businesses to both attract and engage customers, while increasing market reach. Through his Social Media for Business qualification, Thomas can devise and implement marketing campaigns ideas to drive business and raise the visibility of his current work project.

“The biggest thing the qualification has given me is the confidence that I’m doing something right. You’re more likely to perform your job better if you feel confident. This qualification gives you tools so you have the knowledge, confidence, experience and know how to figure out how best to adapt your approach.”

Navigating an apprenticeship alongside work commitments may seem overwhelming but Thomas stresses that with commitment and support, an apprenticeship is a viable option for anyone in the workplace.

I would absolutely recommend apprenticeships to anyone. They’re not something you do when you’re young and you think you’re not academic. This perception is wrong! Apprenticeships are a viable way of upskilling yourself, showing your responsible and committed to learning while gaining confidence and being an asset to your workplace. Also, they’re free!

“The support from Ƶ has been fantastic too. The assessors have always been on hand and provided a great deal of reassurance, guidance and been really encouraging and flexible. My value in the workplace has increased since undertaking my apprenticeships and I’m now in a position to share my knowledge with others in the business.”

Despite only recently completing his Social Media for Business qualification, Thomas has already set his sights on further qualifications which will enable him to reach his goal of becoming a Business Advisor.

“I’ve applied to do Community Shares Practitioner Training which will demonstrate my skills as a Business Advisor. For me, it’s about future proofing myself and gaining all the skills I can.”

If you’d like to learn more about Social Media for Business and how it can future proof your careerclick here.