Chamber Apprentice Champions Digital Creativity in the Black Country

08 Feb 2024

Published in: Black Country Chamber of Commerce News

To celebrate National Apprentice Week, Apprentice Content Creator, Owenia Francis, reflects on joining the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.

As my first “official blog” at the Chamber (you can access the previous member business savings blog here) there’s no better way to introduce myself than during National Apprenticeship Week.

How did you become an apprentice?

Four months ago, I began my Chamber journey as an Apprentice Content Creator through the BBC Apprentice Hub. Soon I was introduced to the Chamber and after a few interviews I started my role in the Marketing & Communications team in September.

What did you do for #NAW2024?

Recently, I had the opportunity to share my journey at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce with Year 10 pupils from the Q3 Academy Tipton. Not only was this my first presentation of the year but the ultimate challenge of public speaking had finally come knocking.After featuring in the Autumn 2023 edition of Prosper Magazine, this was the first time I spoke directly with young people about the experience and hopefully inspire them to consider becoming an apprentice in future. Strangely enough, I had never even imagined doing an apprenticeship while in school, mainly because I had no exposure.

What do you think is the future of apprenticeships?

Fast forward a few years and almost everything you need to know about apprenticeships is available online. With a growing number and variety of apprenticeships on offer, I am confident that it will be considered a viable route rather than an alternative one.

What advice would you give others?

Reach out to people and organisations to learn more. I thought I knew a lot about opportunities in the region until I started working with the Chamber. There are lots of different schemes in the West Midlands and plenty of people to turn to for guidance.

What have been your biggest highlights?

Since starting my role in September, I have met a diverse range of industry professionals, joined an amazing network of other apprentices and learned so much by seeing my mentors in action. One Women in Leadership event, a Prosper Magazine launch, an awards night and a few QES surveys later – and I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge about the Chamber, it’s member businesses and our team. If I had to summarise – the best word to describe my training so far is change. No two days are the same and embracing this has been nothing short of transformative. And of course, the celebration of talent, tenacity and transformation at last year’s Black Country Chamber of Commerce Business Awards was a real joy to witness.

What are you looking forward to?

To build on the experiences I had last year with a new sense of preparedness for both new and familiar challenges. Being an apprentice has given me confidence in an environment where I am trusted to experiment and innovate across a wide range of content. Having this much responsibility allows me to immediately see the impact of my work and drives me to deliver on even bigger projects.

I am extremely lucky to be part of a hugely supportive team and cannot wait for all that 2024 has in store.

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