The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Friday Guest Blog - Life as an apprentice on the Creative Break Programme

Young people in Greater Manchester looking for an exciting career opportunity recently received ‘break’ thanks to the launch of a brand new, Apprenticeship programme – Creative Break.

A partnership between public sector Apprenticeship support organisations and Greater Manchester's ‘creative industries', the goal of the Creative Break Apprenticeship Programme is to generate vacancies within the creative sector.

Vicky Parry, Junior Account Executive, Tangerine PR, Manchester, is one of the recent recruits to the scheme and talks about how she has benefited from her Creative Break.

“So, I started out my career in PR almost nine months ago now, fresh out of college and desperately looking for a job to prove that not going to university was the right thing to do. I applied for a number of jobs and thought I stood a good chance, especially with ten GCSE’s and three A Levels in the bag... but oh no! “You need more experience”, just a way of telling me I basically needed to have worked somewhere other than a bar before standing a chance of getting a job.

“I had never considered an apprenticeship before; some of my friends had done them and gave me a rough idea of what was involved, but they were in more practical fields such as joinery or hairdressing – neither of which I wanted to do. Then I stumbled upon the Apprentice Academy, and they were offering NVQ Level 2, Business Administration apprenticeships – much more up my street. Firstly, I had a telephone interview and then went to their office to have a face to face meeting and carry out some basic office work, such as typing and answering the phone, just to see how I coped. I finally landed an interview with Tangerine PR and that was it... my career began.

“Life as an apprentice was great, I was learning new skills, building up my confidence and also a bank of knowledge that would stand me in good stead for future careers. Because I was working and learning at the same time, all of the work I was doing helped me in building up a great portfolio of coursework and evidence which meant I had a good work/learning balance.

“Daily tasks were the usual admin jobs, sorting the post, answering the phones, welcoming clients and visitors but I was also given the opportunity to get involved with PR activity too and that’s when I discovered I had an interest in PR. Six months flew by and suddenly I had an intriguing request to have a meeting with a board director. It was hard to contain my excitement when I stepped out of the meeting with an enormous grin on my face, I had just been offered a permanent position at Tangerine PR as a junior account executive, that’s right, a permanent PR role, brilliant!

“The following two days were a buzz of excitement for me, I had told my family about the promotion, but had to keep it to myself in the office until the email went around telling everyone about my new job role. People were rushing over from all angles to congratulate me, one person even said they felt like ‘a proud mum’. I hadn’t felt so pleased and excited since I had been offered the junior captaincy at my golf club!

“So here I am, almost three months into my new role and loving every second of it. I have already learnt so much but I know I will keep learning more interesting skills and qualities from my colleagues. Getting a proper salary means I can also treat myself because I can afford it, many of my student friends are jealous as they are in a lot of debt.

“My advice to anyone in the same position-if you don’t think university is for you, look into apprenticeships and give it a go, you never know what it could lead to!”

Businesses interested in finding out more about taking on an apprentice through the Creative Break programme can visit

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