Harriet Parnell, a Projects Assistant at POLARIS is working towards completing her Level 3 Apprenticeship and Vandita Dhoot, our Social Media and Content Executive chats with her about her journey so far and celebrate her achievements!


Hi Harriet, happy National Apprentice Week! How do you feel?

Hi Vandita, I’m doing great. My name is Harriet, and I am currently working towards my Level 3 Digital marketing apprenticeship as a Project’s Assistant.


So, first things first, how did you choose to step back into education, and hence apprenticeships?

I got my first job when I was 13 so I’ve always been getting stuck in and I wasn’t one for education, however with an apprenticeship you can step back into education and get the qualifications as well as get real life workplace experience.

When I was 16, I had a part time job working in digital marketing doing the social posts for a company running and organising charity events. I really enjoyed working on so many different events and doing the promotion of these. This inspired me to think about doing this full time.

I wanted to get back into the marketing industry but was unsure how. I was also worried about being thrown in the deep end with my lack of experience. This inspired me to get back into education to work towards having a future career in this sector while getting a qualification towards this.


Balancing a full-time role, classes and reports sounds like a handful. How do you keep yourself organised, and how do you prioritise?

For my apprenticeship I need to:

  • Build a portfolio of my learning.
  • Sit multiple 3-day training courses and pass the exams for these.
  • Take a qualification in GA.
  • Have regular check ins with my apprenticeship coach at JustIT.

With the CRM system we use, I can balance out my time properly and make sure I keep up to date with client work as well as my personal apprenticeship task lists. I also have the support of my whole team here at POLARIS to help me work towards my qualification and train me in client deliverables.

At the start of each day, I like to write out my task on a post-it note and have it on my monitor to help me keep on track. I try to assign times to each of the things on my list for the day to keep the day flowing well. I make sure to include my lunch break in this as it is important to take your me time. This helps me keep even more focused and helps me separate the work life balance as I work from home.


Is there something you learned through your apprenticeship so far that was new or surprising to you?

Lots of things! I’ve learnt:

  • How to work in an agency, working for multiple clients at one time.
  • How to do html code, which is something I thought I would never learn or want to do but now I use it almost every day and I love to do it.
  • About so many different companies and the products they sell from working with the client base we have.
  • To be excited and interested in used farm machinery (shout out to AMTEC).
  • How to take ownership of my work and how to manage myself and my tasks.


Well, that’s a lot, and it all sounds exciting! Since you’re learning something new on the daily, are there any challenges you’ve faced? How have you dealt with them?

It is important to remember to always ask questions. I have always suffered with anxiety and speaking up for myself and sharing my thoughts. However, doing an apprenticeship has helped me deal with that and become more confident. In order to succeed I need to ask questions to learn and progress.

Similarly, I used to be afraid of getting stuff wrong and admitting to failures. This apprenticeship has helped me overcome that and realise that making mistakes is human and I need to make them in order to learn. I have learnt problem solving skills and things like that are great for my portfolio as I can show off my work and talk through how I got to the final piece and how I overcame any challenges.


That is a 100% true. After all, we all learn from our mistakes. What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting an apprenticeship, but isn’t sure yet?

Do it.

Take the step, I was worried about stopping working full time to step back into education but with an apprenticeship you don’t need to. You don’t need to move away from home, you will still earn money and you will come out with an already built portfolio and experience in your chosen industry.

More and more jobs are being advertised as wanting a qualification and experience in the field and with an apprenticeship you can get both. You’ll make great friends along the way and it’s worth taking that step back into education.

I have also had such amazing support from my training provider JustIT who have been there for me through this whole experience, as well as the amazing team here at POLARIS.


Thank you Harriet for taking out the time to chat with me, and letting us into your world.

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London Technology WeekJune 15th, 2016