Generation Next case study: Polly Oakes

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Posted by: JasmineThompson
Posted on: 04/05/2023

Generation Next member Polly Oakes, a digital marketing executive at Express Recruitment in Nottingham, talks about how the network has supported her while studying for a degree apprenticeship.

What company do you work for and what is your role within it?

I work for Express Recruitment, one of the leading recruitment agencies based in Nottingham who support a wide range of clients across our specialist divisions including call centres, legal and finance, tech & IT, engineering and sales and marketing.

I am a currently doing a degree apprenticeship with Express Recruitment and maintain the digital and non-digital marketing for the entire company.

Why did you sign up to Generation Next membership?

As an apprentice, I am always open to learning more things and developing my skillset. I felt that Generation Next offered me a safe space to grow my core professional skills, such as confidence and networking abilities while offering a wide variety of interesting webinars and events.

Which Generation Next events have you have attended and what was your experience like?

Generation Next Awards finalist announcement (2022) – This was a fantastic start to my introduction to the network. I found the networking session very easy to mingle and meet new people and it was far more relaxed than anything I had been to before. The event location was gorgeous and service at the Cosy Club was brilliant. Being right on our doorstep in Nottingham city centre made it extremely accessible too.

The Generation Next Awards ceremony (2022) – This was absolutely fantastic. I loved the entire vibe of this event and quite honestly was blown away by the preparation the team did to make sure this ran smoothly. The street food was an interesting twist and I found it extremely welcoming to meet new people.

Public speaking webinar with Jillian Thomas – I have attended a number of webinars as an apprentice but this one particularly stands out to me. I found it extremely engaging and gained a lot of interesting things to help me grow and develop. As someone who personally struggles with public speaking, Jillian managed to convey this in a way where nobody felt pressured to speak, but in actual fact, I felt empowered to contribute.

I have used this to support me in my degree assignments for presentations and have found that it has strengthened my presentation skills (for my first university presentation, I received a third, and in my most recent, a first!). Though not everything was applicable to me right now, i.e. being on TV interviews and doing large stage speeches, but who knows what’s in store for the future?

How has the support you’ve received from the events programme been useful to your career development and current job role?

Through Generation Next, I have grown both personally and professionally with my confidence and in a stand alone position, I have found that it has been helpful in growing my confidence in the marketing department. I have made some fantastic connections with people from a wide variety of businesses whom I would not have met otherwise and very much look forward to doing more events in the near future.


By becoming a member of Generation Next, you can access our events programme, which comprises of networking events to help you build a professional network, and webinars that each tackle a topic to build your business knowledge and skills. Enquire today.

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