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The Growing Apprenticeship Model: Interview With Jermaine Malcolm

Posted by Rachel Mathison on February 1, 2019

I recently had the opportunity to interview Jermaine Malcolm, Head of Growth Partnerships with Digital Creative Institute. He shared his thoughts and insights into the growing apprenticeship model, his personal experience with the digital marketing apprenticeship and why it benefits both employers and employees.

Below you will find an edited transcript. To listen to the full recording, click here.

1. What is your role with DCI and why do you believe in the apprenticeship model?

Jermaine Malcolm DCI Graduation

“My role is Head of Growth Partnerships with DCI and personally, I believe in the apprenticeship model. I've always been attracted to what you can learn from somebody that's in the same position that you are aspiring to be in. Before DCI, I was at a startup that initially did the same thing for student-athletes, being able to learn from somebody that understands what it takes and is able to show you small insights and really give you that mentorship and that guidance that you can't really learn on your own.”


2. Why do you think apprenticeships are getting more attention lately?

“Yeah, it's catching on. Apprenticeships are huge in the UK and across Europe. It's starting to catch on here in the United States. I think companies are trying to align their resources more effectively and if they can, give more to their employees and also have a greater return for themselves, it's a win-win. Employers able to train and develop their employees in the most effective way with the apprenticeship model and they're able to do it without or minimally impacting their budget. So a work-as-you-learn experience, which has been a proven model for ages, with apprenticeships in plumbing and electrical and other fields, also makes sense for digital marketing.”

We're lost, but we're making good time! (3)3. You talked a little bit about the benefits for the employers. Can you talk more about the benefits for the apprentices themselves?

“For the apprentices themselves, it's a opportunity to feel confident in knowing what you can actually do, now you have the hands-on skills training. When I came out of college, even after my master's degree, I still felt like I had a lot of theory. I felt like I had an understanding of “this is what I could do, this is what maybe needs to happen”, but I did not feel like I had the technical abilities to feel confident whenever I walked into a job interview or into a specific role that I was going to be able to execute. That's what the apprenticeship does because not only are you getting the insights and theory, but you're actually developing those skill sets at the same time. Confidence is the biggest thing.”

4. You went through the DCI apprenticeship yourself; you've come full circle. How would you describe the difference in the work-as-you-learn experience versus other job experiences that you've had.

“When I think about other job experiences, the learning curve of understanding what you did wrong or what you can improve on is really big in the beginning. When you’re in a typical role without the apprenticeship, you might be testing things out or doing what you know is actually right, and you might get feedback from your boss if you have a good supervisor. A lot of times you won't get that feedback, so you're trying to figure out what's going on and then, months down the road, there's a misalignment between you and your supervisor because you can't figure out if the problem is you, the system, or your supervisor. There's a lot of frustration in that.

When you can actually have the skill set and you're getting the right training with the apprenticeship you're able to implement it and say, this is what I know I need to do to succeed in my role. Also the coaching aspect, you're getting constant feedback from your cohort and your coach so that you can execute in the role and understand what's going wrong, maybe it's technical and maybe it's in the skill sets or maybe it's actually in communications, with my supervisor and understanding what actually gets through to them. You get that feedback and that is huge because not a lot of entry-level employees get that opportunity. Executives pay tons of money each year in order to have a coach that can guide them and make them the best that they can be in their role. As apprentices, to be able to get that training and feedback, it’s pretty incredible.”


Thank you for your feedback and your thoughts on the apprenticeship model Jermaine!

Topics: For Small or Medium Enterprises, For Recent Grads