Abbie Burroughs, a Research Apprentice in the Market Strategy & Understanding team at Ipsos, shares her experience of a year in the sector.

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During the pandemic in 2020, my motivation to go to university was low. I wasn’t thinking about the next steps I would take in my career after completing my studies, as it was such a difficult time and there was a lot of pressure from my previous educational establishment to join the “best” university. I already worked part-time during my studies and decided full-time work would be more beneficial. I was keen to develop a career in a sector that I enjoyed, which resulted in earning a qualification whilst getting paid to do so.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021, when I finished my A-levels and went on the hunt for an apprenticeship. I decided to write a list of topics that interested me during my studies. Coming from an artistic/creative background, the media sector was initially my first choice, but I realised that was more of a short-term interest. I then began to note down subjects/topics that I favoured the most. During this process, I came to the conclusion that Sociology was the subject I felt most knowledgeable and confident in, especially the research segment. After weeks of keen exploring on Google, repetitively typing “research jobs“ in the search bar, I finally came across the research industry and I am certainly not mad at the fact that it is ultimately where I ended up.

I found Ipsos on the government website on which they were advertising the Market Research Executive Apprenticeship. Ipsos enticed me greatly after describing themselves as a “Global leader in market research, that delivers reliable information and true understanding of Society, Markets and People”. Within days of applying, I got a call for an interview, and it was pleasing to hear the words “there is a gap in the industry for an apprenticeship covering core research work”. The process was smooth sailing from there, the team had told me that the apprentice role was brand new within the company. This immediately sparked my interest as this was exactly what I was looking for – a new, exciting journey to embark on which allowed me to develop a career in a sector I enjoyed whilst earning a qualification.

I joined the company in December 2021 and have found the life of a market research apprentice all round beneficial: learning about the industry you are keen to develop a career in, meeting new people within a keen and diverse environment and, most importantly, earning a qualification through off-the-job training in parallel with gaining knowledge in the workplace.

At Ipsos we collectively work together as a team, helping each other with tasks if needed to get things done to the best of our ability. As an apprentice, I am always willing to help my colleagues with work if they are at capacity, this is also a great way to develop new skills adding to my growing knowledge of research. I have been with the company for nearly a year now and my confidence has increased greatly. I have been able to work with researchers across all levels, I have felt like part of a team that works together in the most successful way. I regularly meet with my colleagues to discuss project work and my involvement within the team. Communication is key for my development as an apprentice as I learn new skills from my colleagues, this constant communication allows me to connect with others across my service line, increasing my knowledge as an apprentice. Over the past few months, I have been able to enhance my interpersonal skills, as well as put myself forward for tasks that need to be done with coherence to ensure the project lifecycle is as smooth as it can be.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Market Research Executive Apprenticeship, as well as the research sector. It’s diverse and I find it rewarding to see how the market can be impacted by the work we do as researchers. The insights are super interesting and it’s a great way to learn and grow. I have improved my people skills whilst becoming a key member within each project team, it’s great to be an apprentice within this sector as you are exposed to so much at junior level!  

Find out more about the Market Research Executive Apprenticeship here.

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