In November 2018, I began working for Flexion Mobile. Their focus is on the global distribution of mobile games to "third-party stores". I joined as an apprentice to learn the ins-and-outs of digital marketing through Arch Apprentices. I wanted to talk about my experience studying the apprenticeship for Flexion Mobile, as well as why I think apprenticeships are great opportunities for "neurologically diverse" people.
Diversity isn't only skin deep, everyone is different in more ways than simply race, culture, upbringing, etc. Often overlooked are neurological conditions, which are sometimes known as "hidden illnesses". These range from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Asperger's- which is high-functioning Autism, as well as ADHD, have both been big parts of my life. Thankfully the people I surrounded myself with made sure these "disabilities" were no more than just quirks.
One of the things I love about this company is that everyone is so tight-knit. Despite being so different from one another, I feel like I can talk to practically anyone within the company because everyone works so closely together. These people also become a huge support system for you. You won't know everything there is to know when you start in a company, but you have all these people around you who can teach you and guide you. The senior management team doesn't act like they're above everyone else either, I can turn around and they are practically right behind me, not to mention that they are easy to talk to. You quickly get over the nerve of "oh they're the CEO I can't do it", you realise that they're people just the same as everyone else. I don't feel like I'm below anyone just because I'm studying an apprenticeship here.
Personal experience tells me that patience is important when giving someone like myself a task. We don't all understand straight away. I know for a fact that I cannot always do a task that has been vaguely given to me. "Do this" doesn't work, but "do this by doing this" will work. If you was to tell me to "work it out for myself", I probably wouldn't be able to. All it takes is an extra 5 minutes to explain a task rather than me unnecessarily spending an hour on my own to understand something. This is why I'm so glad that people within my team have taken the time to try and understand me. They cater to what I need; rather than giving me basic instructions. They outline exactly what they want, and I know that if I get stuck I can go to them and request assistance.
As part of my apprenticeship with Flexion Mobile, I took over the previous apprentice's job of the weekly newsletter. This is a company-wide internal email about all the goings-on within the gaming, mobile and tech industry. I took the original newsletter made in Publisher and instead created it through an email marketing service called Mailchimp. What this allowed me to do was create an easily readable and visually appealing email, engaging fellow colleagues. I received numerous compliments giving me the confidence to expand on what the newsletter can bring to the table. Every three weeks I also host a character profile section for the newsletter named "Who's that Flexionite". I compile this fact-file using a document which I get employees to fill out. It's a great opportunity for people to get to know each other's away-from-work selves. The senior management team has made it clear that they enjoy reading the newsletter every week.
My apprenticeship has been an extremely positive experience. It has allowed me to learn new skills and develop old ones. Even my confidence has grown to levels I didn’t think they could reach. This is just the beginning, studying the Digital Marketing apprenticeship for Flexion Mobile is just the start of my career which I hope will progress to massive lengths going forward.
I would like to say thank you to Dominic Shaw of AutisticaPlay, who inspired me to write about my experience after reading his article, titled "Diversity isn't only skin deep". Give it a read to understand more about AutisticaPlay, and what sort of things companies can do to support young autistic people.
By Lewis Edwards