Meet Katie Sproat

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Katie is the Marketing Manager at Tarff Valley ltd – Agricultural Supplies and she has recently graduated with a CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing.

How has studying with nesma helped you in your current role?

The CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing (Level 6) has helped broaden my knowledge of the marketing function, and it has allowed me to consider new approaches in my working practices. I feel I have a greater understanding of the business functions and how marketing supports the different areas. Although it has been a challenge (I found it difficult to go back to studying after 2.5 years off!), I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and the support and help from Veronica throughout the course have been invaluable.

Tell us about your career journey so far?

Throughout my time at Newcastle University, where I studied Agricultural Business Management, I worked part-time in the holidays at Tarff’s flagship Town and Country Store. This experience gave me an insight into the business, and I thoroughly enjoyed working there. When I graduated in 2016, I moved back home. I continued to work part-time at Tarff Town and Country before securing a full-time position as ‘Communications and Marketing Coordinator’ at Tarff’s Head Office. I have now been with the company for over three years, and it’s safe to say that no day is the same, which is why I love what I do. I am incredibly grateful to Rod (CEO at Tarff) who has allowed me to undertake the CIM course and has encouraged me to improve on my marketing skills and knowledge.   

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

As previously noted, no day is ever the same. There are always new tasks and challenges to face, and I enjoy working with the various departments and discussing new ideas and help bring these to fruition. The most recent development within Tarff was acquiring a machinery ring (sourcing labour, machinery sharing, fuel brokerage service) so this has brought a new element to my role. I’ve had to oversee the re-branding of the machinery ring, devise a marketing strategy for Tarff’ Services’ and get my head around the introduction of on-farm training courses. It’s safe to say it’s been a busy time and there’s a lot to think about! As I’m the only marketing person within the business, I have to be organised and manage my time efficiently, and I have a great deal of responsibility on my shoulders. The staff also make working at Tarff enjoyable, and I believe that’s a crucial part of any working environment.

What do you love about working in your industry?

The Agricultural industry is non-stop! There is a strict cycle of events within the farming year, all of which present challenges to the business. There are always new developments happening, and trying to keep up with the pace is exciting. From growing up on a sheep farm and tootling around on quad bikes, I’ve always had a link to the industry. I wasn’t sure what direction life would take after University, but I feel fortunate to have ended up where I have!

What words of advice would you give anyone considering a career in marketing?

It’s exciting, fun and allows you to be creative and think outside the box. It’s like a juggling act where you have lots of things happening at the same time, and to fulfil the role you need to be organised. I would recommend undertaking a CIM course as this will enable you to gain a much better understanding of what marketing entails and will help you flourish in your career.

Has the CIM qualification added anything to your day to day role that you didn’t expect?

I feel more confident now, and it’s been interesting putting the things I’ve learnt into practice! It’s taken time to get to where I am, but I hope to continue improving and learning as I go!

A CIM qualification at Level 6 develops your strategic marketing skills enabling you to progress your marketing career and perform professionally at a management level.

All of nesma’s qualification and training sessions have currently moved online to support our existing students and potential clients. We are running all our CIM and CIPR qualifications via interactive webinars to replicate our popular classroom experiences.

If you have any queries, please get in touch with Lucy Davidson.