Courtney Williamson realised she was barking up the wrong tree in her job at a pet shop.
Now she is training for a career in a cutting-edge digital industry - thanks to an apprenticeship.
Courtney is doing so well nine months into her placement with Sheffield’s award-winning website optimiser SEO Works, she is considered an integral member of the team and is heading towards a role as a junior account manager.
The former Ecclesfield School student had a university place secured after gaining three A-levels at Thomas Rotherham College.
But she decided against three years of media and communications study. “I didn’t want to amass a student loan debt - I wanted to start full-time work,” explained Courtney, 20.
Download the new Star mobile app for FREE An animal-lover, she upped her hours at Hillsbrough’s Pets At Home store, where she had worked around her college course. But after a few months, she realised she needed a bigger challenge.
“I wanted a career which made use of my qualifications in law, media and English language. So I started looking into apprenticeships,” she explained.
“I checked out the website of The Source Skills Academy at Meadowhall and found they offered work placement apprenticeships, which meant I could earn while I learned.
“I got the role of digital marketing assistant at SEO Works after two interviews and I’ve found my ideal career in communications. I’m so glad I went down the apprenticeship route rather than heading to university.”
SEO Works provides professional SEO services to increase search engine rankings, online visibility and qualified leads for a vast range of clients across the sectors. Courtney, on a sales and marketing Level 2 apprenticeship, now handles the company’s Facebook page, which the company had been too busy to focus on. She is working closely on client accounts beside trained managers and is proving adept at website link-building, a major optimisation tool in the digital marketer’s kitbag.
Commented James Corry, client services director at SEO Works: “Courtney swiftly displayed a fantastic aptitude for the role and has the attitude we look for. We want people who are ambitious and keen to learn; she has all of those qualities and has developed into an integral member of the team.
“Traditionally, apprenticeships have been embraced in factories and retail. But they work so well in the digital marketing industry too. The right person can become a big asset to the company. Apprentices give us the capacity to undertake more work and we can mould them to our needs and skill set.”
The company, which has offices in Manchester and London, has offered apprenticeships since launching seven years ago. One of its success stories is Declan Reilly, who arrived at SEO Works at 17 and years on is now an experienced account manager.
Companies and individuals can contact The Source Skills Academy, on 0114 2635600 or at firstname.lastname@example.org