North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College digital marketing apprentice Pippa Culverwell has been named as a finalist in the Association of Colleges’ Student of the Year awards. Pippa has been shortlisted in the Apprentice of the Year category of the national awards which is sponsored by the NOCN Group.

Pippa, from Leicester, started her role as an apprentice for 21 year old Billesdon print and graphic design business, Soar Valley Press, last year. Digital marketing whiz Pippa 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.

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 is the only marketer employed by Soar Valley Press so she relied a great deal on her college tutor and assessor to guide her in the right direction while learning on the job, including about SEO, social media marketing, and web design.

Pippa’s employers have already seen the benefit of her skills, and her manager 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.”

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.

Marion Plant, OBE FGCI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College said, “I am delighted to hear that Pippa has been shortlisted for this prestigious award. She has made a real impact on her employer’s business in spite of difficult circumstances and has demonstrated the incredible difference that talented apprentices can make in contributing to the recovery of the UK economy. We wish Pippa every success for the finals.”

Thomas Burton, Director of Apprenticeships for the NOCN Group, “As a leading apprenticeship end point assessment organisation and awarding body, NOCN is proud to sponsor this prestigious award, celebrating the achievements of outstanding students.”

Sally Dicketts, President of the Association of Colleges, said, “The standard of entries this year was incredibly high, and all the nominated students deserve praise for the contribution they make to their colleges. It is inspiring to hear the stories from a range of students and colleges each year and the awards are an opportunity to highlight their outstanding achievements. The finalists this year have done fantastically well to reach this stage and I look forward to seeing them all at annual conference.”

The awards will be announced on 8 February 2021 during the Association of Colleges’ Annual Conference. Annual conference showcases the ways that colleges are transforming the lives of more than two million people across England and how vital colleges are to the future of the British economy in the 21st century.

There were 68 applications received across the four award categories. The judging panel was made up of members of the AoC Charitable Trust Board, AoC President and chaired by Kirsti Lord (AoC Deputy Chief Executive-Member Services). All the judges were very impressed by the variety of inspirational stories and the success achieved by the students.