Apprenticeship special: where are they now?

Apprenticeship special: where are they now?

Author: Dominic Love — Read time: 5 mins

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, we’ve asked our past apprentices to share their progression right here at Strawberry…

Jade Woodfield, Account Manager at Strawberry

I joined Strawberry as an Apprentice in 2009, at the age of 18 (which means I’ve 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 I appreciated that opportunity comes with experience and knew not to run before I could walk.

The creation of StrawberryToo in 2014 allowed me to move into the role of Creative Director, which accelerated my career by providing me with a stepping stone into a leadership role. For four years I managed a team of three designers and three marketers, as well as project managing all creative projects that the studio were working on.

Earlier this year, I handed the reins to the capable hands of Jess Clark, and I moved back up to Strawberry to step into the role of Account Manager. There are so many opportunities and challenges put in front of you at Strawberry and it’s for you to really take the bull by the horns and show what you’re made of.

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 nine (almost ten!) 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 help to develop 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 five 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 five 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.

Jess Clark, Creative Director 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 of getting the job.

I’ve now been in the Too team for over four years and I can’t believe how much I have learnt in my time here. After completing my Apprenticeship, I was 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.

Now, I’m the Creative Director of StrawberryToo; managing a team of talented creatives who are at the start of their careers with an incredible portfolio of clients at their disposal.

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 and director whilst working on the job. 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, over 4 years later, I’m an Account Manager in charge of my own clients, manage multiple projects and also in the last year of my CIM Strategic Marketing degree.

I’ve been 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 now 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. Learn how, here.