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Social media bootcamp puts local apprentices through their paces

Aspiring apprentices from across the region have been put through their paces at The Juice Academy, the UK’s first industry-led social media apprenticeship programme, and its third bootcamp selection day.

The Academy – which opened its doors to its first cohort of apprentices in July 2013 and has since created nearly 30 jobs for young people in the North West – invited bright young things to meet potential employers and show why they deserved a foot on the career ladder.

With jobs at big-name firms such as the Co-op, Weber Shandwick and Berg Legal up for grabs, this was their time to shine.

The apprentices went through a variety of activities, including creating a self-portrait, a Vine video and the all-important ‘speed dating’ round with potential employers.

Designed as ‘mini interviews’ with each candidate, the businesses found out all they needed to know about the newest potential member of their team – a social media apprentice.

One such employer was Rick Guttridge, MD of leading PR firm, Smoking Gun – back for his second apprentice – who said: “Bootcamp has been a brilliant day – it beats any kind of traditional interview technique as this isn’t a traditional job role.

“Hiring a social media apprentice was a brand new initiative for our company back in July and we wanted to make sure we chose another perfect candidate for us. The Juice Academy apprentices are top notch and I’m looking forward to welcoming our second to the company!”

The lucky apprentice starting work with Rick is Katie Sumner, 17, from Mottram.

She said: “Social media is a huge part of my everyday life – the first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is check out Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – and I was really keen to use this as a basis for my career.

“The Juice Academy has given me the opportunity to be put in front of employers so they can see what I have to offer and I can’t wait to start work with Smoking Gun.”

Rick continued: "Katie showed that whilst technical knowledge is essential, thorough preparation, personality and the right can-do attitude are attributes that will make any potential employer take notice – all of which she had in abundance.”

Apprenticeships are constantly rising in popularity and new research* has found that over a quarter of apprentices are earning more than their graduate counterparts.

The brainchild of Manchester’s Tangerine PR, The Academy was launched to increase youth employment and fill an industry-wide skills gap by training young professionals in the practical application of social media.

Tangerine’s head of digital, Anna Wilson – who is leading the programme – added: “This is our third bootcamp and they’ve improved every time as we’ve learnt what works and what can be better. It can be really nerve-wracking to meet your potential first employer, so this gives the apprentices the chance to shine in a more open environment.”

The Academy is looking for even more businesses to take a social media apprentice from its next cohort – to find out more, please contact Anna Wilson at The Juice Academy on 0161 817 6600 or email

*Figures provided by the Office of National Statistics, January 2014

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