A digital marketing apprentice has been shortlisted for a prestigious award after she helped her employers to bounce back after the coronavirus lockdown. Pippa Culverwell, from Leicester, not only managed to complete her apprenticeship while working mainly from home, she also achieved an eightfold increase in traffic to her employer’s website. Pippa has been shortlisted in the Apprentice of the Year category of the East Midland Chamber business awards.

Pippa started her role as an apprentice for 21 year old Billesdon print and graphic design business, Soar Valley Press, last year. After being furloughed for a short time and then working remotely, Pippa achieved her CIM Level 4 marketing qualification while also making a huge impact on her employer’s business as it pivoted its skills in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Pippa said, “I had a degree in photography from the University of Brighton but decided to go into a career in marketing, so the apprenticeship seemed the ideal place to start. I am actually the only marketer at Soar Valley Press so I was relying a lot on my college tutor and assessor to guide me in the right direction while learning on the job, including about SEO, social media marketing, and web design.

“The COVID-19 crisis changed the way that the business operated, and it switched from doing a lot of work in events and exhibitions to acrylic equipment, PPE, Covid-secure workplace signage and other materials. Although the business was badly affected when so many events were cancelled, we have worked hard to boost our income from other areas. I’d like to think that I have been able to help with that by introducing specialist online marketing skills for the first time.”

Pippa has also been busy outside work through her commitment to the girl guiding movement. A lifelong participant in the movement, Pippa applied for a voluntary job to help run the social media accounts for Girlguiding Leicestershire and is enjoying gaining some additional digital marketing experience on a different brand outside work. She is also following an adult leadership qualification the 5th Leicester Girl Guides with the aim of starting up her own local Brownie group.

Pippa’s employers have already seen the benefit of her skills, and her employer Chris Goodman from Soar Valley Press plans to offer Pippa a permanent position leading on marketing for the company once she has completed her final assessment.

Chris said, “Pippa has performed brilliantly since she joined us. I gave her a really wide range of tasks to work on and she has developed new strategies and seen some great results from the campaigns she has put together for us. She has started a regular blog and produced other new content for our website, as well as developing print materials including our promotional merchandise brochure, and has worked on producing videos for our Christmas campaign. We’re really delighted with that skills that Pippa has brought the organisation and look forward to seeing her develop further in her future career.”

NWSLC digital marketing tutor Teodora Ciobanu said, “Pippa has shown real aptitude for digital marketing and I am proud of the way she adapted to the difficult circumstances during lockdown. She has already made an impact and her success is proof positive that fantastic careers can emerge from apprenticeship opportunities.”