Did you know that we're huge supporters of apprenticeship programmes? We've even had a bunch of our top performers begin their careers as apprentices! To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2017 we've asked our past apprentices to share their progression right here at Strawberry...
Jade Woodfield, Creative Director of StrawberryToo
I joined Strawberry as an Apprentice in 2009 (which means I have been here over a third of my life, wow!)
Initially, I developed my skills in graphic design working with desktop publishing software on editorial magazine design with a team of senior designers. I always knew I wanted to be in a leadership role but appreciated opportunity comes with experience.
The making of StrawberryToo in 2014 allowed me to move into the role of Creative Director which has accelerated my career by providing me with a stepping stone into a leadership role. I now manage a team of five designers and marketeers as well as project managing all of the creative projects the studio are working on.
There are so many opportunities and challenges put in front of you at Strawberry and it's for you to take them by the horns. The senior team support you in everything you do and aspire to be.
Courtney Wood, Account Manager
I first started at Strawb 6 years ago as an Apprentice - and I've never looked back. When I joined the marketing team was made up of Dom, Sarah and then me - but now we've grown to a team of 11 and I've grown up too ... I'm no longer that shy 17 year old!
Embarrassingly, when I first interviewed for my apprenticeship at Strawberry, I thought I was coming for a PA job - but the job description was actually PR! So even though entering the wonderful world of marketing was accidental for me, it's the best mistake I've ever made.
I always think of an apprenticeship as a long interview - you're constantly trying to impress so you can secure that all-important permanent job at the end of your placement. That drive to impress helps you to develop a positive work ethic and is a great introduction into the world of work.
My role has changed a lot during my time here - I've picked up more and more responsibility along with way and now I manage two of Strawberry's biggest marketing accounts.
Kat Owen, Digital Support
I left Sixth Form after just a few months knowing that the A Levels I had chosen weren't for me, but with no idea what to do next. All I knew for certain was that I learned better by doing and that's how I discovered apprenticeships, and ultimately Strawberry.
Over the past eight years I've developed a wide variety of skills beyond what I could have learned in a classroom environment. Being exposed to real clients and real projects pushed me to extend my knowledge so that I could contribute to the team and achieve results for our clients.
I started my journey in the digital team at Strawberry without knowing a single thing about what goes into building a website. Today, I'm currently developing four ecommerce websites on the Shopify platform, and I run the support desk answering day-to-day questions from our clients and helping them to continuously improve their websites.
Elliot Mann, Designer
I started my apprenticeship 4 years ago, when I was 19. I'd just completed a National Diploma in graphic design and thought I knew it all. I couldn't have been more wrong. The past 4 years have been a huge eye opener, not only in terms of knowledge and experience, but in maturity and organisation. You quickly have to grasp the pace and demands of the industry and Strawberry has been invaluable to me for my development.
I've been taught a particular way of design thinking; the 'Strawberry ethos', which I know has enabled me to be as creative as I can, bouncing ideas off others, being very critical. It's the: 'If you can't think outside the box, find the corners' way of looking at our briefs that I really appreciate the most here, you're allowed to incubate your ideas and you're given the time, space and mostly support to get from A to B.
Safe to say in 4 years I've never once not wanted to go to work.
Jess Clark, Designer at StrawberryToo
I applied for an apprenticeship at StrawberryToo whilst finishing my graphics course at Wyke College. I was a shy 18 year old with no industry experience and little knowledge of what it was like to work in the creative industry, and I didn't think I had a chance in getting the job.
I've now been in the Too team for over two and a half years and I can't believe how much I have learnt in my time here so far. After impressing during my 16 month apprenticeship, I've now been given a full time role as a designer in the studio. The role at StrawberryToo is so interesting as we get to work on a different range of design jobs every single day, which has given me the opportunity to work with a wide range of client and businesses. I now work closely with Jade to learn even more and I hope to be given even more responsibilities as I gain more experience.
I feel like without the opportunity of the apprenticeship at StrawberryToo, I'd never have been able to gain all of the skills and experience that I have in such a short period of time. I think I've been very lucky in being able to develop myself as a designer whilst working on the job and I'd highly recommend an apprenticeship to any young creative with a passion for design.
Chloe Tong, Account Manager
I left 6th form in July 2014 and started my 'Business Admin' apprenticeship in the August. I was eager to get into the world of work and start earning some money! My job title was Apprentice Account Assistant and now, 3 and a half years later I'm an Account Manager in charge of my own clients, manage multiple projects and also studying a Strategic Marketing degree taught by the Chartered Institute of Marketing alongside my full time job.
I've being given an amazing opportunity to study the theory and principles of marketing whilst gaining practical and valuable experience at Strawberry. Best of both worlds really! I can apply my knowledge and theories to real clients and see the results in real-time for myself.
Starting an apprenticeship scheme at Strawberry really has been the best decision and helped me develop into the person I am today.