#EducationDay – the Value of Learning in the Workplace


24 Jan 2020

#EducationDay – the Value of Learning in the Workplace

This #EducationDay we’re celebrating the power of learning – and its capacity to change lives for the better.

Members of the Penna family talk about the impact their education had on their career ambitions, their working life, the skillsets and networks they're taking forward as a result.

Frankie Jenkins – Assessment Consultant

I studied for an MSc in Occupational Psychology at Birkbeck University in London. Penna facilitated and funded my course, which lasted two years and which I completed part-time around my full-time position within Penna’s Assessment team. Study was completely online, and very flexible.

The degree stretched me outside my comfort zone. I was the youngest in my group of study – and I benefitted from the opportunity to network with psychology professionals with different experiences and backgrounds to my own.

We covered all topics within the OP world. Particularly relevant to my day-job were selection and assessment, leadership performance management and research methods. Particularly helpful was mapping my practical knowledge onto the theory – and understanding how the theory can be applied to a consultancy position.

My education has helped me further my career ambitions. To pursue a career as an OP you need a Masters degree. It’s helped bring me closer to the progression opportunities and career routes on offer in my field.  

Kathryn Ross – Motion Designer

My degree was in Graphic Arts, with a Major in Motion Design at the Winchester School of Art. We studied everything from film, 3D modelling, creating music and creative coding. My degree involved a commercial course too. We heard from different business owners on their practical experience of pitching both ourselves and ideas, and learning from their experience in the arts.

University was a very collaborative experience for me, and it’s given me huge confidence – whether that be around public speaking or pitching ideas. All of these elements were key to me getting this job at Penna!

Courtnee Haley – Copywriter

I took my degree in Creative Advertising at Leeds Arts University. The aim of study was giving you the skills to work in advertising. It was quite a conceptual and ideas-based course. It gave rigour to the creative thinking process and the stages which go ahead of production. The course helped me explore my options and develop myself into the copywriter I am today.

I took a module on personal and professional development, a requirement of which was seeking out work experience and internships. I worked in both Manchester and London which gave me a sense of the reality of creativity in a business environment. Particularly helpful was the client exposure and earning the confidence to put my ideas out there.

University gave me the conviction to be myself in a professional environment – there’s no need to change your demeanour to ‘fit in’. It also helped me see what I look for most from the place where I work. In my case, culture is the no.1 requirement from a workplace. That’s why Penna appealed to me, and why I took my role as a copywriter here.

Rhys Johns – Digital Marketing Apprentice

Before starting my apprenticeship, I actually did a Law and Business degree – the original plan being that I would embark on a career in Law. In the end, it was the business aspect of my course which I found most exciting. A module in digital marketing was the start of everything really.

After graduating I went into a volunteer mentoring role at a London school, through a charity called City Year. While you mentor the students, you’re given career guidance to help you uncover what you want to do in the future. My mentor helped me discover marketing was where my ambition lay and advised me down the apprenticeship route.

It suits me to learn and work at the same time. The apprenticeship format is that one day per working week is dedicated to the qualification alone, working on four projects. I’m planning one in programmatic advertising, one which is campaign based, one in PPC and then a final project in blog management and promotion. You’re interviewed on the outcomes of these, and then your final grade is decided.

An apprenticeship is worth the experience, you’ll fast track yourself into a career path you’re passionate about. For many roles you have to either have work experience or a degree, and this circumvents that. This is nothing like school or university, it’s on-the-job practical learning.

Want to know more about our work in Education?

Penna Education are the people to speak to. Our Education consultants deliver student marketing and attraction, creative branding design services and staff recruitment to our client base of over 70 UK institutions. Most of our education clients are UK universities or business schools; some are FE colleges, schools or private higher education providers. 

Contact Jane.Johns@Penna.com or Oona.Venermo@penna.com for more information.