Call us:   +44  (0) 1494  772 436
WDG - Bringing clients closer to their customers

Archive : Category

Thinking about taking on an Apprentice but not sure if it will work out (or they will work)? Read on…

POSTED ON April 13th  - POSTED IN Apprenticeships, Generation Z, Market Research, Online Communities

At the end of last year we were looking at our options for replacing one of our research team who has taken a sabbatical to look after her 3 small children. Rather than replace like with like, we decided to give a young person with little or no work experience an opportunity to learn about market research and develop skills in the industry. This was, in part, because we work with Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership in giving career talks to secondary students, emphasising that market research requires a diverse set of skills, some of which they may already have when they leave school. University is not for everyone, so we feel that it is important for students to know that there are options for them.

We decided to ‘try out’ the Government’s National Apprenticeship Service rather than employ a university graduate, and having interviewed a selection of applicants on the NAS website and shortlisted by our appointed training provider, we offered the role of  Assistant Research Exec (apprentice) to Will. In the five months he has been with us we have been very pleased with Will’s enthusiasm and interest in the work, and his contribution as a Generation Z representative, has been valuable. He is a fast learner and a real asset to WDG Research.

Will is working and learning on the job, but he is also carrying out coursework for a level 2 Marketing qualification which he will complete ahead of the anticipated time of 18 months. He does not attend college but allocates time for coursework during the working day, and he has one on one time with his trainer every 6 – 8 weeks. Below is Will’s account of being an apprentice and working in a market research agency.

I have been an apprentice at WDG Research for roughly 5 months and I have learnt a lot in this short time about market research. Already I have been involved with a number of different projects and have helped to prepare proposals and quotes for many more.

The first job I worked on involved focus groups discussing what people thought about health and wellbeing and how it affects what they buy. It was a very interesting project as people talked about their experiences with food and what aspects of health and wellbeing influences their choices and motivates them. These ranged from product quality and cost, to ethical issues, as well as many more influences, which gave us the information to present back to the client. My role was assisting the moderator and observing in the viewing facility, taking notes on each of the groups so that we could refer to them later. I found the analysis stage to be extensive and detailed but something that afterwards was worth the time spent on it. Being involved and dissecting what each group said and structuring it in a format that is easy to follow and understand is crucial to the work.

Other projects included focus groups to understand the potential of a new leisure facility, and another managing an online community for toothpaste users. These, together with the other jobs we have lined up, means that we are heading into a busy period, allowing me to be thrown in “at the deep end” and of course, learning more about the job.

What I like about the Government’s apprenticeship scheme is that you learn while you work. Where university students learn theory and information, and may do a few weeks in the workplace before going back to university, as an apprentice I am constantly expanding my knowledge while being employed. Not only that, but I will have a qualification at the end of my apprenticeship as well as practical and valuable experience. The duration of my apprenticeship is determined by how long it will take me to complete the coursework for my qualification. My trainer suggests a year to 18 months for my Level 2 Marketing qualification.

University students are paying to learn and gain relatively no experience. I, on the other hand, am getting paid to learn and gain some qualifications as well. Many students believe that apprenticeships aren’t for them, however they couldn’t be more wrong. The aim of both university study and apprenticeships is to gain qualifications to enter the workplace, to make a career for yourself and to earn enough money to live off securely. The difference is that university courses take 3 times longer, cost £27,000 plus accommodation, food etc and you have no real practical experience in the workplace.

Being an apprentice has taught me that holding down a job is very different to being in secondary education: at school you could get away with not completing your work, or not following up on specific tasks, however, in a job you need to be on the ball about each and every aspect of your work.

As I have stated, apprenticeships are a fantastic way to enter the job market. They help people to learn and get a qualification, gaining valuable experience (something which a lot of employers are looking for right now), earn money (rather than accrue student debt) and be involved in projects from the start. In addition, when the apprenticeship is concluded there is a good chance that you will be offered a permanent position with the company, especially if you have put in hard work and shown yourself to be a committed and loyal member of the team.

Millenials move over – the Smart generation has arrived!

Do you ever wonder what is going on in the brains of younger members of society as they adopt and understand technology better and faster than any previous generation? They are so far ahead of the curve that by the time their predecessors, Millenials, catch up, the technology is passé. These are Generation Z, or iGen, born from 1995 to date. They are the most connected generation to date, and are driven and independent, hard-working and good at solving problems.

Their education is mostly tech-based, using smartboards, laptops, AI, and apps. Their social life is planned – and often carried out – online. They facetime, rather than skype, preferring Instagram and Snapchat to Facebook and WhatsApp. They understand the importance of online privacy and prefer to keep their interactions limited to their known friends (versus Facebook’s cyber friends). Connectivity shapes their lives and dictates how they interact. In fact, globalwebindex published a report in 2017 which suggests that Gen Zers spend around 52% of their daily online time on their phones, accounting for over 4 hours a day. Consequently, older generations regard them to be lazy and obsessed with social media, but they are clearly much more than that.

They stream TV programs and videos, rarely watching ‘live’ TV, living in their moment rather than being dictated to by schedules. They listen to music digitally and they vlog, or follow favourite vloggers. They are confident in their opinions and use YouTube to reach an audience with their own brand of thought leadership.

They take an interest in the world around them, and question the ethics and values of brands, especially if they are not aligned with their own. They have favourite brands and are highly critical when they underperform. Mention Apple’s latest iPhone creation, they know all about it, its functions, applications, Face ID technology, relative performance versus previous gen iPhone, OLED screen and on and on…They may want to keep their communications private but not their customer preferences. They want their thoughts and opinions to be listened to and given importance. All these are significant considerations to future employers and brands.

Brands need to engage directly with Gen Z and be sensitive to their concerns, such as caring for the environment, and respecting social and gender diversity. Content marketing directly to social sites, and personalisation is key to gaining their attention. This new generation have heightened awareness of brands and social memes. They have grown up with the Amazon approach to personalised online instant retailing, and although physical retail channels are still popular, most prefer to window shop on the High Street, then proceed to buy online. For many, high street brands are too predictable and prefer online sites that reflect their individuality, sharing their style with friends.

There are some conflicting findings about this new generation. Firstly, Gen Z are said to be more optimistic about the future and are resourceful and creative. Many are too young to remember Gulf War II, 9/11, July ‘05 London bombings, the introduction of university tuition fees, or the effects of the Recession, whereas the Millenial generation saw the fall of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, figureheads of terror. The new generation are witnessing the horror of ISIS and Syria, and the mass migration of refugees. For them, terrorism has always been around them, (according to Oxford Royale Academy study in 2018) and although they are keen to travel they are anxious about encountering extremism or conflict.

One of the most disturbing aspects of Gen Z is the sharp rise in reported mental health issues among young men and women. A greater number are seeking treatment for low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and self-harm than any other generation according to World Health Organisation statistics. Some experts put this down to the extent of connectivity on social media and feelings of low self-worth when they see friends enjoying themselves or attending parties that they haven’t been invited to. There is also the constant exposure to celebrity images and photoshop’d images of the body beautiful.

This is a generation of tolerance. They are more accepting of difference than previous generations and are more likely to know people who are openly transgender or gender neutral. They expect to be treated the same whatever gender they are or choose to be and dismiss gender stereotyping as irrelevant, as they do political correctness. Across the UK Gen Z and their friends are likely to be a mix of cultures and races, and culture stereotyping is also irrelevant.

We are still learning about these young adults and children, but it is clear that they are very different from their Millenial siblings and forbears. Their innate knowledge of all things digital and their easy adoption of new technology and artificial intelligence augurs great things for this new generation.

Millenials move over – the Smart generation has arrived!

Do you ever wonder what is going on in the brains of younger members of society as they adopt and understand technology better and faster than any previous generation? They are so far ahead of the curve that by the time their predecessors, Millenials, catch up, the technology is passé. These are Generation Z, or iGen, born from 1995 to date. They are the most connected generation to date, and are driven and independent, hard-working and good at solving problems.

Their education is mostly tech-based, using smartboards, laptops, AI, and apps. Their social life is planned – and often carried out – online. They facetime, rather than skype, preferring Instagram and Snapchat to Facebook and WhatsApp. They understand the importance of online privacy and prefer to keep their interactions limited to their known friends (versus Facebook’s cyber friends). Connectivity shapes their lives and dictates how they interact. In fact, globalwebindex published a report in 2017 which suggests that Gen Zers spend around 52% of their daily online time on their phones, accounting for over 4 hours a day. Consequently, older generations regard them to be lazy and obsessed with social media, but they are clearly much more than that.

They stream TV programs and videos, rarely watching ‘live’ TV, living in their moment rather than being dictated to by schedules. They listen to music digitally and they vlog, or follow favourite vloggers. They are confident in their opinions and use YouTube to reach an audience with their own brand of thought leadership.

They take an interest in the world around them, and question the ethics and values of brands, especially if they are not aligned with their own. They have favourite brands and are highly critical when they underperform. Mention Apple’s latest iPhone creation, they know all about it, its functions, applications, Face ID technology, relative performance versus previous gen iPhone, OLED screen and on and on…They may want to keep their communications private but not their customer preferences. They want their thoughts and opinions to be listened to and given importance. All these are significant considerations to future employers and brands.

Brands need to engage directly with Gen Z and be sensitive to their concerns, such as caring for the environment, and respecting social and gender diversity. Content marketing directly to social sites, and personalisation is key to gaining their attention. This new generation have heightened awareness of brands and social memes. They have grown up with the Amazon approach to personalised online instant retailing, and although physical retail channels are still popular, most prefer to window shop on the High Street, then proceed to buy online. For many, high street brands are too predictable and prefer online sites that reflect their individuality, sharing their style with friends.

There are some conflicting findings about this new generation. Firstly, Gen Z are said to be more optimistic about the future and are resourceful and creative. Many are too young to remember Gulf War II, 9/11, July ‘05 London bombings, the introduction of university tuition fees, or the effects of the Recession, whereas the Millenial generation saw the fall of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, figureheads of terror. The new generation are witnessing the horror of ISIS and Syria, and the mass migration of refugees. For them, terrorism has always been around them, (according to Oxford Royale Academy study in 2018) and although they are keen to travel they are anxious about encountering extremism or conflict.

One of the most disturbing aspects of Gen Z is the sharp rise in reported mental health issues among young men and women. A greater number are seeking treatment for low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and self-harm than any other generation according to World Health Organisation statistics. Some experts put this down to the extent of connectivity on social media and feelings of low self-worth when they see friends enjoying themselves or attending parties that they haven’t been invited to. There is also the constant exposure to celebrity images and photoshop’d images of the body beautiful.

This is a generation of tolerance. They are more accepting of difference than previous generations and are more likely to know people who are openly transgender or gender neutral. They expect to be treated the same whatever gender they are or choose to be and dismiss gender stereotyping as irrelevant, as they do political correctness. Across the UK Gen Z and their friends are likely to be a mix of cultures and races, and culture stereotyping is also irrelevant.

We are still learning about these young adults and children, but it is clear that they are very different from their Millenial siblings and forbears. Their innate knowledge of all things digital and their easy adoption of new technology and artificial intelligence augurs great things for this new generation.

 
Website designed and developed by BeSeen Marketing