The Advanced Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media from Creative Skillset is aimed at learners interested in turning their creative and digital pastimes or enthusiasm, into a career in the Creative Media Industries. Ranging from production and editing, to animation, camerawork and photo imaging, the apprenticeship delivers the skills required by employers to compete and progress in a digital world. The views expressed in this blog are the authors own and don’t necessarily reflect those of any training provider.


Digital Skills Survey

Posted: July 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

skillsIf you ever wondered which digital skills are in high demand, you may be interested to know that independent trade association, Manchester Digital, carried out a skills survey of its membership earlier this year.

The survey produced some interesting results about how digital companies in the North West region recruit, the most difficult roles to fill and the impact that digital skills shortage has had on businesses.

Summary of key themes and insights:

  • Employers report a large number of hard-to-fill vacancies. Technical development is a particularly difficult area to fill for companies.
  • There is a significant issue with mismatch of applicants’ abilities to the needs of the job, especially in regards to entry-level talent.
  • Despite the diverse range of businesses across the digital sector, the lack of resources in development and / or developers’ capabilities is the most pressing issue for the majority of respondents.
  • There is a clear perception that the educational system is not adequately preparing young people for a career in the digital industries.

You can find out more and download the survey findings from SocialMediaApprentice.

ciw webinarHave you got an hour to spare?

Want to create unique, compelling graphics and video?

Looking for the right tools that will help you quickly communicate with your audience?

CIW (Certified Internet Web Professional) will be delivering a one-hour interactive Webinar to learn more about:

  • Creating compelling graphics: Tips, tricks and traps
  • Universal video creation tools and techniques
  • Going native: Mobile phone and tablet considerations – develop right in the phone?
  • Content licensing
  • Image and video libraries

Webinar Registration Information

Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Time: 3:00 p.m. GMT
Length: 1 hour

Don’t miss your chance to join the conversation. Register Now!

Creative Webinars

Posted: March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

create now

Calling all creatives – Adobe’s webinar series is back – and it promises to be better than before. They’ve already released some awesome, inspiring webinars on the creative world and there’s lots more still to come including:

adobe webinars

You can register for these webinars here and don’t worry if you’ve missed some, they are on-demand  here:


The inclusion of professional qualifications on a programme and additional industry insight is a huge benefit to an apprentice and their employer. Holding an industry recognised qualification like the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) increases the apprentice’s confidence, makes them more effective in work and validates their skills.

Now as an educator, you can take advantage of ACA certification to make a lasting impression on your apprentices, your company and your own career. When you certify and then integrate this certification into your curricula, you make your institution stand out as an innovative education provider. You also become known for offering real-world credentials to assist your apprentices in being work ready. Your apprentices will be more likely to pass the certification themselves because you’ve been there. You’re familiar with the testing environment, and you know how to prepare them.

Start a good trend. Becoming ACA certified is simple, straightforward, and until 28th February 2013, it’s free! To find out more about this opportunity simply go to and register to get started!

Manchester Digital SkillsThe Manchester Digital Skills Summit is the largest digital skills conference and careers fair in the North and is a must attend event for those looking to attract and retain digital talent in the region and also those responsible for providing education and training to the digital and creative sectors. I attended this event last year and as always it will provide a great opportunity to meet and network with the North West’s leading creative and digital companies.

Talent Day is the largest digital and creative careers fair in the North and is a must attend event for those looking to find and employ the next generation of northern digital talent. Last year’s event saw over 60 leading Digital and Creative companies and 1000 students attend the event at Manchester Town Hall, between the different companies there were over 100 jobs up for grabs so plenty of students got the break they were looking for.

The event is also a terrific opportunity to raise the profile of the sector in the north west and prove to students that the sector in the region is  healthy and thriving and they do not have to go to London to have a successful career in digital.

Talent Day takes place on Wednesday, February 20th at Manchester Town Hall and starts at 11:30. Over 30 companies have already signed up for this year’s event including Thoughtworks, BBC, McCann Manchester, Blue Leaf, Code Computerlove and HavasLynx.

To secure your place please click here

SEO Myths

Posted: January 22, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

seo mythsAn interesting Social Media guidebook is available from HubSpot, an inbound marketing software business. Best of all its FREE. It makes interesting reading for anyone concerned with Search Engine Optimisation whether you are a professional Web Author or just an enthusiastic blogger.

It puts keywords into perspective and debunks a few myths about them. What caught my attention is the importance of having quality content as a key element of your optimisation strategy. Anyone who’s used the CDM Apprentice blog will know the high regard we place on writing good content especially in a world where much of what you encounter on the web is just something that has been re-broadcast.  And the undoubted emergence of Social Media in the SEO mix is also mentioned.

Overall, the conclusion in this guide is that more than anything else, SEO is about the overall experience for a searcher.

Download it for yourself here.

tenderCreative Skillset, the Creative Industries’ Sector Skills Council has developed the country’s first ever Higher Level Apprenticeships in Advertising & Marketing Communications and Creative & Digital Media: Interactive Design & Development.  The Apprenticeships will be ready by February 2013.  As level 4 qualifications, they will be equivalent studying at the first year of university.

They are looking for an associate or team of associates to map the learning outcomes of elements of the Apprenticeship frameworks to free, online learning resources.  They would also look for the e-learning associate to make recommendations as to where there are gaps in free, online provision with a view to guiding Creative Skillset to commission original online content for use by all Training Providers offering the Apprenticeships.

Download Tender document here – Tender Specification elearning consultant.


I am in the process of developing some e-learning resources which will support CDM Apprentices to study some key topics in the workplace. Whilst not a huge fan of e-learning myself (zzz…!), I think it certainly has a place particularly for the Competence  Diploma which all too often isn’t really taught, but is assumed to be learned on-the-job.

However, my preference is to provide Distance Learning rather than just a flat e-learning resource. That’s why these materials will be made available on a dynamic, scalable, fully cloud-based learning environment that stimulates social learning and enables interaction with a tutor.

Here is a small preview of the content for a unit called Produce Copy for Interactive Media Products which teaches you how to write good content for web pages. This particular course also includes Target Audience, SEO, CMS, Proofreading, Content, Structure, Checking Accuracy and Legal & Ethical considerations. Click on the images below to see the previewed pages in full screen.










Adobe Generation is a series of free online creative courses, including Animation, Games Design and Photo Imaging.  It´s your chance to learn from the best digital and creative designers in the world.  You’ll study the latest techniques, share ideas and develop practical skills that will help you stand out out from the crowd.

The courses run for 1 hour a week per course, for nine weeks.  You won’t have to pay a penny and you’ll even get an Adobe Generation certificate at the end. So what are you waiting for? Kick-start your creative career now, with Adobe Generation.

About Functional SkillsFunctional Skills

Functional Skills are qualifications in English, Maths and ICT that equip individuals with the basic, practical skills required in everyday life, education and the workplace.

They are stand-alone qualifications and are the only skills component accepted as part of Apprenticeships from 1 October 2012. English, Maths and ICT (at Level 2) are requirements within the Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship framework.

Do you need to do Functional Skills on your Apprenticeship?

The general rule is, if you already have a Functional Skills qualification (at level 2) or if you have a GCSE (at A*-C) then you will not need to take the equivalent Functional Skill to achieve the apprenticeship. In other words if you passed your English GCSE at school then there would be no requirement to take the Functional Skills English assessments.

Few like it, but try to be positive

I often hear apprentices saying things like “Why am I doing Maths and English? I’ve come here to do creative and digital work.” Well, there are very good reasons why. Imagine if your job involves writing text or copy for a web site. Perhaps that web site belongs to a valued client. How would they react if you added content to the site and the “speeling” or “grammer” was poor?

Are you street wise?

Being functional with Maths, English and ICT can also help you to be more street wise. Let’s say you were looking to buy something on the high street and one retailer was selling the product you wanted and were doing a deal of buy 2 get one free. However, another retailer was offering the same product with a percentage discount. If you can do the Maths and work out the best deal you’ll be better off. It’s not just about having the ability to add, subtract, multiply etc. We all learn that in school. It’s about being functional and having the ability to apply the skills properly and independently to any situation.

Exam recommendations – English

  • Reading – only use information from the text
  • Look for key words in a question
  • Avoid excessively short answers
  • Responses should be fit for purpose
  • Practise writing in different formats
  • Practise writing for different audiences
  • Writing – spelling, punctuation & grammar = 40% of  marks
  • Dictionaries may be used

Why not try a sample exam here.