21 May 2019
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.
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...”
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...”
“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.”
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.”
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.
“Social media marketing is definitely a career I’d love to pursue thanks to my time at Populate with the amazing team there!”