Le-Anne Burman is Design and Marketing Manager for IKON Training in Ipswich. Here she explains why age is no barrier to learning and career growth
When Le-Anne Burman joined IKON Training in 2018 as Head of Design, she told her Director that she wanted to develop her role. ‘In my first appraisal I said that I wanted to help IKON build its presence through marketing,’ Le-Anne explains. ‘However, at the time I did not have the necessary digital skills, despite my previous experience at Archant designing and managing online and offline content for their newspapers and magazines.’
Le-Anne had moved to IKON Training, which specialises in training people in Conflict Resolution and Managing Challenging Behaviour, so she could work closer to her home in Ipswich. ‘My original contract was for 2.5-days a week, which suited me at the time. However, I was always keen to do more and to take on new responsibilities as the opportunities arose.
‘My one concern was that having turned 45, it might be hard to find suitable training courses. Many people still think that learning stops when you leave school or college – but thankfully my director, Louise, shares my passion for lifelong learning. Following my 2022 appraisal, she forwarded me an email from the New Anglia Growth Hub and encouraged me to ask about their online marketing workshops.’
She adds: ‘It turned out that those workshops were only for an hour, but New Anglia Growth Hub were really helpful. They told me about a range of new Skills Bootcamps that New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership had recently launched with funding from the Department for Education (DfE).
‘One of those Skills Bootcamps, run by Anicca Digital, looked ideal for broadening my understanding and keeping my skills up to date. Anicca had designed it to deliver a Level 5 qualification from the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI). As such, it covered all the key aspects of digital marketing, including insights into SEO, analytics and the main social media platforms.’
That funding was also crucial as it meant that IKON Training only had to cover 10% of course costs. ‘As a result,’ explains Le-Anne, ‘were able to pay me an extra day each week for my study time, on top of my usual hours. That was really good of them and great for me, plus I got to study from home.’
The course started in November 2022 and ran for 12 weeks until March 2023. It consisted of a full day’s online training each week, with live tutors to guide the students through the course and answer their questions. ‘The course leaders were really knowledgeable and able to apply the theory to our own work experience, which made the sessions incredibly engaging and relevant,’ says Le-Anne.
On top of this, there were optional 1-day sessions covering career development (including CV and interview preparation) and exam revision. For more general discussions, there were weekly 1-hour live webinars, plus access to an online library of over 150 recordings of previous webinar.
Participants could also get ongoing support with their studies in Anicca’s community channel on Slack.
‘It was a fantastic experience but, admits Le-Anne, ‘it was really intense. I had not realised when I started that a Level 5 qualification is equivalent to a Foundation Degree, which explains why there was so much revision and why the exam was so challenging. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed getting my head down to learning and then being able to put it into immediate practice at work.’
By spreading the course over 12 weeks, Skills Bootcamps give participants time to reflect on what they have learnt in each module and then start applying it in the real world. The weekly webinars also encourage learners to review their notes and enable them to see how all the modules interlink.
‘I sent Louise a weekly report of what I had learnt after every module,’ says Le-Anne, ‘so she could see all the new things I could bring to my role.
‘That thinking time each week was really important and enabled me to identify some quick wins. For instance, we started using Google Alerts to find relevant social media and blog post content faster. It also gave me the chance to review some of our previous website redesign work and I was pleased to find out that what we had done was in fact recommended.’
Le-Anne took her exam in March 2023 at the Pearson Vue test centre in Ipswich. ‘I was so excited that I got there an hour early, but it was worth it because I passed and received confirmation of my new professional qualification before I left. I was even more delighted when Louise promoted me to Design and Marketing Manager, with increased hours and a pay rise to reflect my new responsibilities. It’s proof that Skills Bootcamps are a fantastic way of giving your career a real boost, no matter what stage you are at in life.’
Featured image supplied by Le-Anne Burman