Six months into Coventry 2021 we catch up with our Communications Apprentice Hollie Edwards

Headshot of Coventry 2021 Apprentice Hollie Edwards

The apprenticeship programme at the City of Culture Trust began in November of last year, recruiting 14 Coventry and Warwickshire residents, eager to learn and develop skills in departments such as production, finance, marketing and fundraising. The apprentices have been with the Trust for a year now, and they want to reflect on what they have achieved in their time at the Trust so far.

Hollie Edwards, the Communications Apprentice, tells us about her experience and what she is looking forward to in her time as an apprentice.

I became interested in working in marketing and communications after doing an online course in digital marketing while on furlough in lockdown. When I saw the job advertisement for the Communications Apprentice role, the opportunity to gain a qualification (level 3 Marketing) and the experience working in communications was very appealing, two for the price of one!

I have learnt and experienced a lot since starting my apprenticeship last year, with some standout moments that will stick with me forever. Having to work from home at my first office job during a pandemic was a new experience; getting to know my co-workers over a screen and not actually meeting them in real life until five months into my apprenticeship was definitely different; but has allowed me to be flexible, working from home and in the office.

One standout moment during my apprenticeship was the first time I worked at an event. For the City of Culture Trust’s signature event, Coventry Moves, I ran the press office where I was responsible for welcoming journalists, photographers and videographers and giving accreditation. Being ‘on the ground’ at the event gave me a new insight into the role of a communications department and made me excited for the months of events to come.
Another important day for me was the Green Futures Press Day, where journalists and editors came and saw events from the Green Futures programme, such as Observations on Being. I organised travel and catering for the day. The day ran smoothly, and I was so proud that I had helped make it a success.

I’ve also had the chance to develop my speaking skills during my apprenticeship. Before, if you had asked me to give a presentation to five people, I would’ve been reluctant. By saying ‘yes’ to all the opportunities offered, I have been able to (partially) overcome my fear of public speaking. I was recently interviewed by BBC 2 for a feature on Politics Live. It was scary and exciting seeing myself on the TV, but now I can tick it off my bucket list. I was also involved in a debate style meeting about the future of the workplace for Coventry and Warwickshire’s Chamber of Commerce, where I was one of the featured speakers. I spoke about how young people work and develop their skills in the workplace, and how and why to invest in young people’s learning in Coventry.

As well as these standout moments, I write a lot of content. I’ve written multiple communications packs, which go out to our partners and supporters when we have an announcement, or release tickets to events. These packs include social media copy they can use on their channels. It was special to see my words being used by big organisations with thousands of followers, spreading the message that I had written. I have recently started to write press releases too which get sent out to various newspapers, and radio stations who then report it on their channels.

The skills I’ve developed since being in the apprenticeship are irreplaceable and only the start of my working career. With six months of my apprenticeship left to go, I’m looking forward to passing my college exams and gaining my level 3 marketing qualification. I’m also looking forward to creating more content, overseeing campaigns and seeing what the future holds.