'Hello Lucy, this is Sandy Lindsay calling from Tangerine PR, I'd like to find out a little bit more about you and the role you’re looking for’. That call was just over a year ago.
I already aspired to work at Tangerine PR. My friend’s beautiful and successful big sister Gemma had worked there for years, eventually going on to open her own PR company.
I actually asked Gemma for some advice when I was 17: how can I make it in the world of PR? She advised that I should 'get some work experience and pronounce London with an O rather than a U! (Lundun)’. I did both.
That was eight years ago but I’d implemented the necessary changes. I met Group MD Sandy Lindsay, but it turned out that she is from Birmingham so I'm not sure if ‘Lundun’ was a deal breaker.
During my interview Sandy admitted that she had lured me to Tangerine PR under false pretences, the role was not actually in PR. She told me about the company’s ambitions to launch The Juice Academy, the UK's first industry led social media apprenticeship programme. The programme would help to fill the industry wide digital skills gap and create jobs for young people wanting industry experience. They wanted someone to help lead the project, and it seemed like perfect for me as I had lots of experience as a trainer and in project management after launching Manchester WI.
Well, that was that - I was brought on as a Project Co-ordinator to help launch and run The Juice Academy.
That was a year ago. Since then we have placed 39 social media superstars within businesses throughout the North West with plans to expand to Yorkshire and the West Midlands. It’s been quite a journey and our apprentices have done some wonderful things.
To celebrate our amazing first year, I wanted to share some of our, and our apprentices’, biggest successes. Here’s some of my personal highlights…
The Juice Academy apprentices 'stand up' at The Comedy Store
Our apprentices Sam, Carly and Liam joined Sandy on stage in a Q&A session at the Public Sector Communications Awards. Their technical knowledge and enthusiasm blew the audience away. The hashtag even started trending while they were on stage!
Gong! Apprentice of the year awards announced!
The employers were asked to sum up why their apprentice should win the coveted prize, and we were inundated with so many nominations, we had to choose three apprentices for the award…
The Juice Academy apprentices lend a hand at Hillsborough charity event
Tom, Jordan and Rob volunteered their services at the Variety Honours Hillsborough 96 event with Liverpool legend Mark Wright. The organiser said “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.”
The #JuiceAcademyProject is unveiled!
Craig's blog post and Tweet on '5 reasons Ricky Gervais is a social media genius' got a re-tweet from Ricky himself!
Tangerine PR achieved a Certificate of Excellence for EMEA Innovator of the Year for The Juice Academy!
Our first cohort of apprentices is about to graduate and every single one has been offered a permanent position at the end of the programme! You can read some of their stories here and here.
These are just a few of many #ProudAsPunch moments from The Juice Academy’s first year. I am looking forward to the year ahead and many more #proud moments to come.