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Geoff Shelley - Level 6 Digital Marketer Degree Apprenticeship

Geoff Shelley, 45, works in the Smart Warehousing department at Walgreens Boots Alliance. The apprenticeship has allowed him to gain valuable knowledge and skills to improve customer experience by observing the connection between the supply chain, marketing, and commercial activity. The apprenticeship has been an enriching experience for Geoff who has been able to interact with individuals from different demographics and backgrounds on his cohort. Read more to find out Geoff’s career aspirations

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

"I applied for the Digital Marketer degree apprenticeship (DMDA) with the aim to develop my knowledge and bring functions to work together. The apprenticeship enables me to educate myself in areas outside of supply chain.

My target was to highlight supply chain opportunities that can support and compliment marketing and commercial activities to increase Boots.com revenue and profit, working closely with marketing, commercial and finance leads. I have aspirations to be a well-known senior leader, collate functions goals and enable quicker decisions, and use my role to showcase continued development opportunities in Boots and be a role model.

Supply and distribution are a major part of the overall Boots.com capabilities and future. The opportunity for Boots to support and enable me to complete the DMDA with NTU was an opportunity to expand my knowledge and interest further and help me become a unique person with 15 years supply chain experience, with qualifications and experience in marketing."

How do you believe this apprenticeship will affect both your current job role and future career?

"Highlight supply chain opportunities that can support and compliment marketing and commercial activities to increase Boots.com revenue and profit and also improve the customer experience. It helped me understand processes more, possibilities of different marketing opportunities and reporting functionality, increase my profile and develop my confidence."

How would you rate the teaching and support staff on this apprenticeship?

"Excellent! Clive Whysall is an excellent support and lead for the degree, his support throughout the degree has been a key success in my progress. The leads of all the modules completed have been supportive also."

My favourite thing about my apprenticeship is learning new information that supports my day job and being able to talk and discuss issues with the cohort who are a different age group to myself. Also the communications and interactions with module leads.

How have you balanced studying alongside your professional role? How have you found the support from your employer?

"There are periods during the year that are really difficult to balance study with a professional role. I work in a retail e-commerce sector which has a 4-fold increase in demand on the run up to Christmas, this is a period when modules are due for assessment. Boots support me with allocated time during the week but as mentioned this is more difficult September to January meaning I do complete some activity in my spare time. Conversations with my line manager and work place mentor have helped to free up some time for me to complete assignments. Some longer term deadlines have to be prioritised less as more time in spring becomes available."

What skills and experience have you gained as part of this apprenticeship? Has there been anything you were not expecting?

"Adding the DMDA knowledge and experience to my supply chain experience makes me a unique person who can help bring commercial, marketing, and supply chain closer together to achieve quicker decision making and excellence in customer experience.

Understanding in more detail different marketing techniques, customer buyer behaviours and journeys has helped me streamline and understand key actions to improve customers experience, both internal customers such as colleagues, and external retail customers.

Skills and experience from the apprenticeship have developed my presenting skills to be more professional and precise to stakeholder managers. This has led to contributing more to commercial meetings with senior executives and showcasing my skills, something that has been fed back to me in my reviews.

A successful relationship with a great work place mentor and a well-respected senior e-commerce manager within the digital marketing environment at Boots has opened new networking opportunities. I’ve led new marketing opportunities around customer promise and personalization."

What advice would you give to someone considering a higher/degree apprenticeship?

"I would recommend doing an apprenticeship – I’m comfortable and enjoy acting as a role model for other apprentices to help support their career aspirations and passing on personal experiences. I already have a team member who has signed up for a degree apprenticeship. The advice I gave is, it can be challenging but the feeling of achievement is great. Each module you learn from, even though at the start it may not be clear of the goals you will achieve. You do however need to dedicate and plan your time and there will be occasions when you have to compete some studying in your own time if want to achieve good results. Develop relationships with the cohort to help, ask questions you are not sure about and even just to be able to discuss feelings with people completing the same activities as they probably feel the same as periods."

To learn more about our apprenticeship courses, please contact apprenticeships@ntu.ac.uk.

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