North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College digital marketing apprentice Pippa Culverwell has been named as Apprentice of the Year in the East Midlands Chamber Leicestershire Business Awards. The pre-recorded event was broadcast live via YouTube on 19 November.

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, “We’re really proud of Pippa who 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, “Congratulations to Pippa on her remarkable achievement. Despite the challenges of 2020, Pippa has made a huge difference to her employer’s business and her story represents a wonderful example of the contribution that apprentices make across the region.”

Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said, “There is so much to celebrate within our business community, which has really shone through during what has been a very challenging period for many. It’s fair to say the people and businesses of Leicestershire have suffered more than most, with Leicester being the first city placed into local lockdown at the end of June – and many of those restrictions continuing to this day. Throughout this time, there have been some incredible examples of real business success.”