Reflection on my time as a member of the Shoo academy

I have now been a member of the Shoo Academy since October 2020, and it has been one of the most invaluable experiences I have had during my time at University. I have taken on a range of placements in the past, from a website editor to two weeks shadowing a member of Cardiff Council, and I can say truthfully nothing has prepared me for the working world the same way that the Shoo Academy has. 

I am a current MSc Management and Marketing student at Leeds Beckett University; however, I did not always study this course. For my Undergraduate, I completed a degree in Politics and Sociology. Due to this I was very aware that for my master’s I would be behind in my marketing knowledge compared to those who had either studied this course at undergrad or had work experience in the industry. As soon as I moved to Leeds in August last year, I knew that I wanted to find a way to work in the industry to some extent alongside my studies. Luckily for me Shoo came along and has been so useful these past eight months that I have been a member of Shoo Academy. 

The one thing Chris and Rachel always say, is that we are with Shoo Academy to do more than serve coffees and teas. Instead, Chris and Rachel throw you into the deep end encouraging you to push yourself at everything you do. If you want to focus on web design with the academy, you are going to get that experience; want to build up a graphic design portfolio? Shoo will make sure that happens. When I joined the academy, I had no prior knowledge of social media management but I really wanted to learn, so for seven months Chris and Rachel gave me the task of managing their Instagram account. Although it was difficult to grasp at first, I can now say I understand so much more about how to use the platform to promote your business. As I am studying management in my degree as well, last month I was given my own leadership role, so I now get to lead a team focusing on Shoo’s marketing strategy through marketing reports. I never thought I could do any of these tasks before joining Shoo, but now I can confidently explain all my skills and experience to anyone and feel confident that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for. 

Another amazing aspect of the Academy is the training you receive on a weekly basis. Every Friday we are introduced to people who are experts in areas such as SEO, personal branding and so much more. This means that even if you only have gained experience in a small area of Shoo, you are still getting a broader understanding of both the marketing industry but also how to sell yourself to future employers. Shoo also gets academy members to present on a topic that they know well. This not only helps all the other academy members understanding of different topics, but it builds up individual confidence to present in front of an audience and reinforces knowledge which they are presenting about, helping to support the learning of academy members even more. 

Finally, and probably my favourite part of being a Shoo academy member, is just how friendly everyone is. I originally come from the South of England, and I went to university in Cardiff before joining Leeds Beckett last year. Due to this I was very lonely up in Leeds as it is very hard to make new friends during a global pandemic! Now I know that every week I get to chat to people who genuinely care about me and we get to know each other better and better every week through online team building exercises. Now that the rule of six in in place, I am excited to finally meet some of the members very soon in person because we have become such good friends during our time in the academy together. Everyone is so supportive and non-judgemental I always feel like I can be myself and I am appreciated for my contributions to Shoo. Chris, Rachel, and Mollie are also so kind and supportive to everyone, wanting to make sure we get the most out of our time in the academy. They always make sure we feel able to reach out with any concerns or questions and remind us regularly that they are always just a call away, so it is easy to get in contact if needed. 

Ultimately, I am so glad I decided to apply last September to Shoo Social Media. I had no idea what the company was, only that I wanted to gain experience in the marketing field, but I gained so much more. From skill building to my confidence increasing and finding amazing new friends, I cannot express how amazing being part of Shoo academy has been. If you are considering applying, I say do it! You will gain so much from being part of the academy and you will be valued along the way. 

 

Written by Aphrael Spindloe, Shoo Academy