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becoming a trainee ppc executive: an interview with levi richardson

Crisp factory, organic leek farm, blast furnace in the steelworks, digital marketing…Levi has a vast and varied work history. With a degree in ecology and conservation and a master’s in conservation biology, it was his internship that led him to discover an interest in digital. Inspired to learn more about the digital world, he applied for a trainee role in our PPC team. We talked to him to find out more about what led him to digital marketing, how he’s found settling in at equation and what he’s learnt so far.

tell us about your internship and why it uncovered your interest in digital marketing.

I come from an environmental background with a degree in ecology and conservation and a master's in conservation biology. My masters got extended by a year due to COVID. Because I had this extra time, I decided to apply for an internship with my university who had a standalone enterprise called MetMUnch. They’re an organisation that promotes sustainable and nutritious food. I started there as the sustainability project coordinator where I was responsible for the social media accounts and content creation for their Instagram and Facebook. They also wanted me to create blogs, so I was creating two or three blogs per week, and they trained me up in WordPress so I could upload the blogs to the website myself. It was being trained in WordPress that got me interested in exploring digital more and moving away from the sustainability and environmental background and degrees that I had. The internship also gave me some basic Google Ads training and I found that really interesting - I knew it was something I wanted to explore further. My line manager at the internship was an entrepreneurial woman who inspired me to start my own sustainable enterprise as well. So, as that internship finished, I started building my own website using my new WordPress skills. It took me about four months to actually build the site - I think that was longer than it should have but I got there eventually! It was a sustainable and ethical clothing company which was operated as print on demand. I created all of my own branding, social media account and reached out to a non-government organisation called The Gorilla Organisation who work to save endangered species. I have a corporate partnership with them where I donate 10 percent of all the profits to the organisation. After four or five months of establishing that, I decided to start looking for a job and I knew that I didn't want to go into sustainability anymore. This was what I was interested in, so I used it as an opportunity to explore these interests and new skills further. Then I stumbled across digital marketing and PPC. It wasn’t something that I’d even thought about six months before but all of a sudden it became my focus when searching for jobs. And that’s how I ended up here! I did do some other jobs throughout university too, but they were very different. They included things like working in Golden Wonder Crisp Factory which I did for three summers. Then I worked on an organic leek farm for two summers and I’ve also worked in a blast furnace in the steelworks for two summers as well.

what attracted you to equation?

equation was offering a paid traineeship which really made the agency stand out when I was looking for digital marketing roles. It also demonstrated to me that the company was expanding. The fact that they're willing to train someone up and pay them while they’re being trained shows that the company is really thinking about the future and trying to hire people that will stay with them for the long term. I went on to read reviews and blogs as well and they all say amazing things about the agency. I think from then on, my heart was set on joining here, and I would’ve actually been quite disheartened if I didn't get the job! I wanted to help businesses drive traffic to their websites. That’s something that I had experienced myself and it made me realise just how important it is. For example, I didn’t want to go into SEO because it’s a slower, long-term solution. I wanted to be in a faster-paced environment where I could be trying out new ideas and seeing what works for the client.

tell us more about your onboarding and recruitment experience…

The recruitment process was really good. It was unbelievable, actually. I've been overwhelmed by the whole experience, to be honest as it has been really, really smooth. All the managers that I had interviews with were lovely. They made the whole process informal and chatty – it was more like they were just getting to know me! It only took about one week for the whole process and there were three different interviews during that time. I interviewed with Laura in the recruitment team and then I had an interview with the paid operations team managers, Sophie and Alexia, and then finally, I had an interview with Giacamo, paid graduate training manager.

how have you found your time at equation so far?

The first few weeks have been absolutely amazing. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve received this job because it's so different to anything I’ve ever done or experienced – the people, the work, the little perks, everything! In my previous internship, we didn't always work 9 – 5. We had a certain amount of work that needed doing so we would just keep going. Then I came to this job and Alexia is always telling me to log off at five and enjoy my evenings. It was quite a shock that everyone genuinely cares about your health and wellbeing. From the start, I was put in all the different meetings. Even though I didn’t have anything to say or offer at this point, it was great just to hear what everyone else in the team has been up to and introduce me to the different aspects of the agency. On the first day, I did my new starter training with a group of other people new to the business. Out of the five of us, three didn’t come from anything digital marketing related. I thought it was really cool how people have been brought into the agency with all these different skills, interests and backgrounds and then we're all coming together to work with clients.

how has your initial ppc training been?

At first, it was very much introductions to the team, getting to know everyone and what their roles are. Then I’ve slowly been introduced to pay per click. I’ve had lots of amazing training sessions with Giacamo, who's a fantastic teacher. He's really relaxed but he knows what he's talking about and makes it really interesting. Whenever I have any questions, I can just ask him on Teams and have a quick call to answer the question. That's been a really helpful aspect of the training because it means I'm not just waiting for an answer.

what advice would give someone looking to make the move from a non-digital background to a digital role?

I think the main piece of advice would be that you don't need a marketing degree. You just need to be interested in the businesses, the data, the marketing – that kind of thing. I would suggest doing a little bit of Google Ad’s training to see if it holds your interest and then from there, start to build your CV with a few free training courses. I think that would give them a good foundation to get into a position like this.

Like the sound of working with us at equation? Take a look at the current roles we have available or get in touch with our team of paid media experts to talk more.