Career stories

From Apprentice to PLMR Digital’s Deputy Team Leader 

by Lucy Somers

In June 2016, I completed my final A-Level exams. I remember feeling excited that I had finished, but deep-down I was nervous as I didn’t know what was next for me. All my friends had been busy writing personal statements, tracking their UCAS applications and receiving offers – but not me. 

I knew that I never wanted to go to university, and I had been working since I was 16 at a local care home (funnily enough this care home provider ended up being one of my first clients!). I worked part-time on the weekends and school holidays as their care home receptionist. I enjoyed meeting new people, learning new skills and I loved the independence my pay-packet gave me each month. 

I knew I needed to find a path that allowed me to learn a new skillset and earn money too. That’s when I found out about apprenticeships. I had always associated apprenticeships with tradespeople and admin roles, but after some investigation I found that there were creative apprenticeship schemes out there which sounded promising, as I had studied creative subjects at sixth form such as Drama, Theatre and Media Studies. 

My research found Diva Apprenticeships, an apprenticeship recruiter specialising in creative roles, who invited me to their offices in Stratford and put me forward for an interview at a communications agency in Westminster. The rest as they say is history. 

In September 2016 I nervously arrived at the PLMR offices in Westminster for my first day as a Digital Marketing Apprentice. Little did I know this would be the company that would lead me to a nomination for PRCA’s Digital Professional of the Year 2020, managing an award-winning digital team, and supporting sector-leading clients to develop and evolve their digital communications. 

During my year as an apprentice, my mentor Alex Hackett, now Group Director of Digital at PLMR, supported me with in-depth training on the specific digital marketing modules I needed to complete as part of the programme.  

We would meet regularly and plan what I would learn next. It was an exciting time for us both. At that time there was only three of us in the digital team (there is now eight, and soon to be ten!). I was always so busy and that’s how I learnt so quickly – I wasn’t scared to get stuck into anything. However, PLMR always made sure I had frequent study days at home or at Diva’s offices to ensure I was able to complete my coursework on time. 

After I had completed the Level 3 digital marketing qualification, PLMR offered me a full-time role as a Digital Marketing Executive. I was thrilled! After Alex offered me the position, he explained what my career progression could look like – we discussed what skills and training I would need to ensure I met my goal of achieving ongoing promotions. And since then, I have never looked back. 

During the last six years I have been given really exciting opportunities which have enabled my progression to PLMR Digital’s Deputy Team Leader. This has included travelling to Scotland to live stream hustings events with client 38 Degrees during the 2017 General Election, external digital marketing training at the Shard, completing Oxford University’s Saïd Business School’s Digital Marketing programme, and being nominated as the PRCA’s ‘Digital Professional of the Year’ in 2020.  

I also had the opportunity to work on industry-changing campaigns and oversee interesting clients within the Health and Social Care, Education, EdTech and professional services sectors. 

I love that I am now a mentor for my team, and I can support them with their goals and career progression. I’m always encouraging them to learn new skills, whether it’s from our internal digital training sessions or attending external training to assist with their digital marketing specialisms.  

Without PLMR’s support none of this would have been possible. The senior leadership team are always keen to invest in every consultant’s personalised training plan to help their progression – which my friends tell me is not the case in many companies. Without PLMR believing in the apprenticeship scheme, and giving me the opportunity, mentoring, and training I needed to succeed, I wouldn’t be where I am today. What a journey it has been!  

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PLMR’s crisis communications experience is second to none, and includes pre-emptive and reactive work across traditional and social media channels. We work with a range of organisations to offer critical communication support when they are faced with difficult and challenging scenarios.