As we approach National Apprenticeship week a local young man wants to inspire young school leavers in the area that university is not the only option to consider after school.

The former sixth form student graduated during the pandemic and decided that it would not deter him from pursuing his career.

Although apprenticeships were almost non-existent at first, Harry Brown from Thatcham persevered. He found as lockdown restrictions relaxed that there was a rise in businesses giving school leavers the chance to learn on the job.

In May 2021 the young school leaver came across an apprenticeship at an international shipping company which was looking for a digital marketing apprentice – which involved navigating social media platforms and keeping the website updated.

The company, Pack & Send is based in Reading and gave Harry the opportunity to undertake his apprenticeship whilst also navigating through the challenges of the pandemic and having to work at home at various points.

Harry said that he was determined to seek out an apprenticeship after finishing Kennet School Sixth Form at the worst possible time.

He explains: “National Apprenticeship Week is a chance for me to tell school leavers that there’s so much to be gained from learning on the job. University doesn’t have to be the be all and end all – you can get experience in a sector you’re interested in, get paid to train, and learn from a real-world environment.”

“My role sees me manage the website content to keep it updated an optimised for search engines, as well as look after the social media platforms. Digital marketing is an ever-changing discipline so there’s always something new to learn!

Mike Ryan, CEO of PACK & SEND, says: “We are keen to attract talent to our business and offer hands-on roles for apprentices alongside a supportive culture where employees are valued.

“As a franchise business we offer a full range of employment opportunities from apprenticeships, graduate schemes, customer service and driver roles through to business ownership of a franchise centre.

“Recent apprentices have gone on to be employed in full time roles and I would urge anyone with an interest in a sales or customer-service led career to get in touch.”

The year long apprenticeship will finish in three months and is being run through Elysium Training. He will graduate with his Level 3 qualification in digital marketing.