Skip to content

Getting social

21 May 2019

Wide angle photograph of office
Alongside practical experience, interns are also working towards the Facebook Blueprint qualification.

Students from Cardiff University are on a path to digital enlightenment thanks to an eight-week course led by one of the UK's leading social media marketing agencies.

The 10 would-be social media gurus, studying at Cardiff Business School, were selected from over 100 applicants for the bespoke training programme designed by alumnus and founder of Populate Social, Daniel Simmons.

Over the course of the eight sessions, Dan and his team of industry experts will deliver social media masterclasses on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and others.

The 10 students will get to grips with analytics, organic and paid advertising strategies, chat bots and influencer advertising with the help of real-life case studies.

Men using computers
The academy formalises a work placement agreement between Cardiff Business School and Populate Social.

Young Business Person of the Year

Dan, who graduated from Cardiff Business School in 2015, where he studied BSc Business Management (International Management), has since won a Santander Spark award and been recognised as Young Business Person of the Year at the Cardiff Business Awards.

He said: “The academy basically formalises an existing relationship we’ve had with Cardiff University over the years since I graduated. And, essentially, it’s a response to the skills gap here in Wales, and the UK more widely, in the area of digital media...”

Avatar of young man

“I’ve spoken with Welsh Government about this and what I hope the academy demonstrates is that through initiatives like ours we can produce better, more well-rounded, graduates. Graduates with the ability to respond to an increasingly digital working environment which they’ll soon be entering to find employment.”

Daniel Simmons, Founder, Populate Social

Universities, businesses and industry

In November 2018, the Lloyds Bank Business and Charity Index revealed that just under half (45%) of Welsh SME organisations lack the basic digital skills that could drive growth.

Cardiff University is already part of a £20 million government investment to bring together universities, businesses and industry experts to equip people of all ages with the digital skills they need.

But Alex Hicks, Placement Manager at Cardiff Business School, argues that investment at the grass roots also has an important part to play in overcoming the digital skills gap.

He said: “We’ve witnessed so many success stories from our student placements over the years, both for the host organisations and the students themselves...”

Alex Hicks

“Students get the opportunity to take their learning out of the classroom and put it into practice in a local business. This often shakes things up, in a good way, for the host companies who are getting fresh skills and perspectives on their portfolio of work.”

Alex Hicks, Placement Manager

“The way I see it, what Dan’s doing is future-proofing our students so that they can fill the gaps that industry in Wales and the rest of the UK is failing to recruit to.”

Industry standard

Alongside practical experience, interns are also working towards the Facebook Blueprint qualification.

This Industry-standard qualification focuses on the fundamentals of marketing on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.

Dan added: “The Facebook qualification gives the interns a little something extra. A toolkit, whith a stamp of approval from one of the biggest players in the world of social media, which demonstrates ways they can use these platforms in their own businesses or whoever they go onto work for.”

Woman using computer
“Every day at Populate has been different."

Bethany Burnage, one of the ten Populate Social interns and in her final year of a BSC Business Management (International Managent) degree, said: “Being a part of the Social Media Academy at Populate has given me an amazing chance to see in practice the theories and ideas that I’ve been taught in lectures.”

With the second semester of the placement now drawing to a close, the students are working on live Populate Social commissions.

This is an opportunity for Interns to tailor their work to areas of interest, including business development, content, reporting and analytics and paid advertising in the hope of securing a full-time summer internship at Populate Social.

Man with camera
The academy offers students an opportunity for to tailor their work to their areas of interest.

“Every day at Populate has been different, from gaining experience writing blog posts and doing research, to going along to photoshoots out of the office.”

Bethany Burnage, studied BSc Business Management (International Management)

“Social media marketing is definitely a career I’d love to pursue thanks to my time at Populate with the amazing team there!”

Share this story

Find out more about the ways in which your organisation can work with our students, including placements and live projects.