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The Juice Academy apprentices lend a hand at Hillsborough charity event

Three social media apprentices from The Juice Academy, the UK’s first employer-led social media apprenticeship programme, volunteered their services at the Variety Honours the Hillsborough 96 event at the weekend.

Rob Watts, Tom Bedson and Jordan Rudge, who are all part of the Academy’s first cohort of apprentices, used their knowledge to encourage the star-studded guest list to use social media on the night and raise awareness of the Variety charity’s work.

All guests were asked to use the @varietyGB Twitter handle and the #VarietyHB96 hashtag to feed through to four live ‘tweet walls’, which were displayed around Liverpool’s Crowne Plaza Hotel throughout the event.

Liverpool legend, Mark Wright, used both to tweet a picture from the event of fellow former player, John Aldridge, to his 20,000 followers. Everton Football Club also used the hashtag to raise awareness of the event, tweeting to 274,000 followers across the world.

The prestigious dinner was hosted to help raise funds for two Variety ‘Sunshine Coaches’ in honour and remembrance of the Hillsborough 96 – at present, the total stands at £100,000.

The ‘Sunshine Coaches’ have now been branded with the colours of Liverpool and Everton Football Club, as a gesture to the support shown to the 96 Hillsborough victims’ families by both football clubs and their respective fans.

The ‘tweet wall’ had been used by the charity at its previous event - The Variety Legends of Industry North West – and saw more tweets in one night than in a normal month for the organisation.

Robin Goodswen, social media organiser, said: “Without the help of Jordan, Tom and Rob, the social media exposure for the event wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.

“All three went above and beyond what I had expected of them and if I could, I would have all three working for me full time. I can only congratulate The Juice Academy for picking such enthusiastic and hardworking individuals – the future looks bright for our social media scene here in the North West.”

Rob Watts, who is working for Liverpool’s PH Creative for the practical element of his training, added: “This was a really exciting event to be involved with – this is exactly the kind of environment we thrive in and it was great to meet so many legends of the game.

“We were on hand to help with any social media issues, whether people were having problems connecting to the WiFi or needed help posting their tweets to the wall. Everyone who posted kept looking out for their messages on the feed and it was humbling to know we were involved in the process and keeping everything running smoothly.”

This is the second influential event which the apprentices have supported this month, after Sam Hutchinson, Carly Philips and Liam Weaver spoke at the UK Public Sector Communications Awards.

Hosted at Manchester’s Comedy Store, they answered questions on all things social media, proving their age does anything but hold them back in the workplace. Their speeches were so influential, the #PSCAwards hashtag began to trend during their session.

The Academy – which was launched to increase youth employment and fill an industry-wide skills gap by training young professionals in the practical application of social media - opened its doors to its first cohort of apprentices in July.

The year-long course – which is being run by Tangerine PR, a multi award-winning PR agency - includes a mixture of theoretical and work-place learning, covering all elements of social media management.

Modules covered include: Social Media Management, Keyword Analysis and SEO, Developing Content for Social Sharing, Developing a Digital Strategy and Social Media for Mobile.

The course also covers a range of professional skills and techniques - delivered by Ian Pettigrew of Kingfisher Coaching - and the apprentices will graduate with a City and Guilds Level 3 in Social Media.

For more information, or to express an interest in becoming an employer/apprentice, please contact Lucy Adams at The Juice Academy on 0161 817 6600 or email

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