Newport's Ascendancy sees apprenticeships as integral to business

A Newport-based business was one of the first SMEs in the country to offer degree apprenticeships.

Jay Snookes and Emily Beech.
Jay Snookes and Emily Beech.

And four years on apprentices at digital marketing agency Ascendancy continue to be an integral part of the working team.

Director Helen Culshaw said: “We utilise their skills and encourage them to put in every effort, stretch the boundaries and reap the benefits - and the impact they have on our company as a result is ten-fold.

“We currently have three apprentices at the moment. When apprentices join they are immediately enrolled into our Ascendancy Academy, a structured programme of training and support. We have a skills list that we periodically assess them against, identify areas where their skills are not yet fully developed, and provide additional training and support in that area.

The new apprentices work alongside Jay Snookes and Emily Beech.

Jay joined the team as an apprentice in November 2016 after AS-Levels at Idsall School and although he had no knowledge of digital marketing, he is believed to be the youngest person in the UK to pass the Google Ads exam (on his 18th birthday) before going onto, and completing, his degree apprenticeship.

He picked up his degree alongside Emily, an existing member of staff who joined in 2017 and was promoted twice in 18 months before becoming a degree apprentice and also completing the course in 2022.

She said: “I will be forever grateful to Ascendancy for seeing potential in me and giving me the opportunity to learn new skills despite having no previous experience in digital marketing.”

Investment into the Ascendancy apprentices ongoing development will also continue once they have finished their degrees, meaning joining Ascendancy as an apprentice isn’t just about completing that initial qualification, but about taking the first step into a long and fulfilling career.

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