AN Ashbourne PR firm is rolling out its apprenticeship programme after taking on two youngsters from Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School.
Shepherd PR, in Market Place, started the training scheme last year and is offering two more apprenticeships in 2014.
With the opportunity to learn about business, social media, public relations and video, the company's apprenticeship programme has already proved a success for two former students at QEGS.
Kathryn Moorcroft, a former head girl at the school, has now moved into full time employment at the business after completing a 12-month social media apprenticeship, which combined work with studying at Derby College.
The 19-year-old has since returned to QEGS to give a talk about her experiences as an apprentice and the benefits it can offer.
Kathryn said: "I hadn't considered an apprenticeship before, but when the opportunity arose it seemed too good to miss.
"I've learned a great deal over the past year and I'm really glad I joined Shepherd PR instead of going to university.
"I've been involved in some really interesting projects, including interviewing a senior politician at the House of Commons."
Georgia Handley, 17, is currently studying business administration at Derby College as part of her apprenticeship at Shepherd PR, and almost 12 months on, is an integral part of the team.
She said: "The chance to 'earn as you learn' is a great way of balancing on-going training with work and gain plenty of useful experience too.
"Everyone at the company has been very supportive of my college work and helping me to get the most from my apprenticeship."
Shepherd PR – which generates media coverage, videos, award entries, and manages social media channels for clients – aims to recruit two further apprentices, to offer support for the video team, as well as the social media and news department.
Kathryn and Georgia work as part of a team of nine people that includes graduates working in video production and former journalists heading-up the news-writing service.
The opportunities arise as students from across the Ashbourne area prepare to collect their A-Level and GCSE exam results this month.
Jo Foster, Shepherd PR's online manager, said: "Both Kathryn and Georgia have contributed wholeheartedly to the team and demonstrate what can be achieved by their hard work and a drive to succeed.
"Apprentices offer real benefits to businesses and we are very pleased that we are in a position to offer these opportunities in the area.
"We are looking for people who are energetic and enthusiastic, with an interest in business and the media.
"This opportunity will give two people the chance to get some great experience, which they can then combine with additional training."
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