The start of my content career
This is a blog by Euan McGeechan, former Modern Apprentice and now Associate Content Designer in the Scottish Government’s Digital Directorate.
After school I went straight to university, but left when I realised the course wasn’t for me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I definitely had to find a job. When I saw the advert for the Modern Apprenticeship programme in collaboration with Young Scot and the Scottish Government I thought, why not?
Deciding which route to take
I was lucky because I was offered two apprenticeships. I wanted to try something new, so I accepted the offer in the Content Team in the Digital Directorate, to learn about content design. I hadn’t done much writing after English at school, so I knew a content job would be a challenge. I went for it anyway and I’m glad I did.
One of the most surprising things about the job has been finding out that content design isn’t just about writing. It involves a lot of research and work with users to find the best way of delivering the information that they need, in an easy and accessible way. Content design is one of the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) professions, which also covers the following functions:
- data engineering
- software development
- user research
- graphic design
The work I’ve enjoyed the most has been data analysis – which uses statistics and figures to find trends and improve user experiences. I find it interesting how we use that information to improve our content. I also create visual aids, infographics and reports to help our stakeholders understand data. Learning about the content design process has shown me the amount of work that goes into making content accessible and readable.
Sitting in on user testing sessions has been interesting as I can see how certain users react to content and ways that design can be improved to help people with impairments.
Studying and working
A big benefit to the Modern Apprenticeship programme is that I got to work and study at the same time. I studied at Young Scot one day a week, working on events such as the Young Scot Awards, attending the European Youth Card Summit and achieving a qualification in Creative Digital Media. I was also able to meet other apprentices working in different sectors and find out the different ways they worked.
Associate Content Designer
I completed the apprenticeship and applied for a permanent role. I was supported through the application and interview process by my line manager and the wider team. My application was successful and I started my official new role of ‘Associate Content Designer’ today and am still learning a lot. I recently ran my first content design project, working with policy colleagues in Scottish Government to create an application page and guide for the Neonatal Expenses Fund.
This project was very interesting with a tight timescale and I put my content design training with the team to good use. The policy team were happy with the content. Rebekah Carton, Policy Lead Maternity and Neonatal Policy said:
Euan was great, I pushed him for a very tight deadline but he was efficient and got the website turned around and live very quickly. I had to have very little input which was exactly what I needed.
The next step in my career. . .
I know what I need to do to further my career – my next step is learning the extra skills required for the role of ‘Junior Content Designer’. There are lots of interesting digital roles and opportunities in the DDaT profession.
There are so many different types of careers in the Scottish Government that I didn’t know about. And, I’m sure others don’t realise it either. That’s why the Modern Apprenticeship programme is good for a lot of people, not everyone knows what they want to do straight after school. It helped me find out what professions are out there and gave me a chance to find the one that suits me, whilst giving me on the job experience. I would recommend a Modern Apprenticeship to anyone thinking about doing it and am happy to discuss my journey so far with anyone if they have questions.