School of Marketing promotes value of apprenticeships in ad debut

The social enterprise wants to show brands the power of taking a chance on an apprentice, as Marketing Week research reveals more than half of marketers work for a brand with no marketing apprenticeship.

The School of Marketing is making its advertising debut with a campaign urging brands to take a chance on an apprentice.

The social enterprise and Level 3 apprenticeship provider wants to show brands the value marketing apprentices bring to organisations large and small, as recent Marketing Week research suggests a persistent lack of understanding within businesses.

The 2022 Career and Salary Survey shows more than half (57.9%) of marketers work for a brand with no marketing apprenticeship.

Of the 4,463 marketers surveyed, 21.2% say their company does not currently see the value in such schemes. A further 10.4% say it is too complicated to develop a programme, while 6.6% cannot get buy-in at the highest level.

The Salary Survey data provided the “embryonic insight” for the campaign’s tagline encouraging brands to take a chance on apprentices.

“We know people are not seeing the value,” explains School of Marketing founder, Ritchie Mehta. “Circa 60% of companies are not doing this and so we wanted to create an emotional end line that went: ‘Actually you need to take a chance.’”

It’s very much that call to action that you do need to take a chance on [an apprentice] to see how much value you can create.

Ritchie Mehta, School of Marketing

The creative follows an aspiring digital marketing apprentice struggling to find work, while an SME owner grapples with fears over the future of her high street business. The young man and antique shop owner cross paths in the town centre before she decides to take a chance on the apprentice.

While studying for his apprenticeship, the young man is also seen developing a digital strategy for the shop owner, building a revenue stream from online.

“Through the narrative we’ve created, it’s all about how much value apprentices can bring to an organisation,” Mehta explains. “Then it’s very much that call to action that you do need to take a chance on doing this to see how much value you can create, because we know people are not taking that chance.”

A digitally-led campaign that will be predominantly seen on YouTube, Mehta sees potential for the advert on TV and cinema screens to help spread the message.

Describing the School of Marketing as a niche challenger organisation with social purpose at its heart, the debut campaign is firmly aimed at changing perceptions among brands, says Mehta.

Seeing the value: How apprenticeships are being used to unearth fresh talent

“We need to prove they can grow their businesses with apprentices,” he adds. “That’s what we’re trying to achieve and if it sticks in the subconscious and makes a bit of emotion then all the better.”

While apprenticeships are open to every brand via the Apprenticeship Levy, Mehta points out companies nationwide are under-utilising the levy. Some £330m in unused funds were returned to HMRC in 2019/2020.

One way brands could explore the value of apprenticeships is by opening up opportunities to people fleeing the war in Ukraine. As recently highlighted by Mehta, refugee status means aspiring marketers don’t have to wait three years before they are eligible for funding.

Unlike with standard immigration rules, refugees can access Apprenticeship Levy funding immediately to simultaneously upskill and earn, in the same way as a non-refugee.

Another way people are discovering the power of apprenticeships is through the School of Marketing’s free Mentoring Gen Z programme. The initiative has already reached more than 1,000 young people hoping to kickstart their careers in marketing, offering free group mentoring with leaders such as Boots CMO Pete Markey and Nando’s chief customer officer Sarah Warby.

On many occasions, young people find their way onto an apprenticeship programme via Mentoring Gen Z, after discovering more about a career in marketing.