Four North East businesses are among the first in the country to take advantage of a new apprenticeship that’s been designed by industry to meet the needs of the UK’s fast-growing creative sector.
Northumbria Police, Prima Cheese, Karbon Homes and NCFE have joined forces with Gateshead College to recruit and train the Junior Content Producer apprentices. They are among the first people in the country to train on the new apprenticeship standard which has been designed by employers to fulfil the ever-evolving demands of the creative digital industry.
Chris Toon, acting principal at Gateshead College, said: “This new apprenticeship has been developed to fulfil a demand from some of the biggest employers, both nationally and regionally, who want to see more creative skills in those entering the job market once they leave education.
“Through the programme, we’re working with businesses and organisations across the North East to help them recruit new talent with the skills they need to grow.
“The apprenticeship will help to develop creative talent and meet the skill set employers across the region, and nationally, are crying out for.”
The apprentices study at Gateshead College one day a week learning everything from video production to content creation and graphic design and for the remaining four days they’re working in full time, paid roles with their respective employer.
Mary-Leigh Watkins, one of the apprentices, graduated from Northumbria University in 2017 with a degree in Media and Journalism. She found the Junior Content Producer apprenticeship vacancy on the Karbon Homes website.
Following a successful college assessment and interview by Karbon Homes she secured the apprenticeship place where she’s junior content producer at the housing association, a position she’s held since September.
Mary-Leigh Watkins said: “I was starting to get really disheartened with finding a job in the creative sector so this apprenticeship couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
“I’m learning so much about content production including design, PR and public consultation work. It’s also great to earn as I learn, as an employee at one of the largest housing associations in the North East.
“I don’t regret going to university at all as I gained so much knowledge and of course walked away with a degree in a subject which I am passionate about. If I knew more about apprenticeships at the time, I may have opted for that route instead so I could have secured employment whilst also providing a long and fulfilling career in producing content.”
Iain Herdman, assistant director people and OD at Karbon Homes, said: “We were really pleased with the level of talent we attracted last year for our apprenticeship programme.
“We work hard to support our apprentices and give everyone the opportunity to gain the skills, qualifications and work experience they need to be successful in their careers. Our mission is to provide everyone living in a Karbon household with a strong foundation for life, and programmes like this are an integral part of that mission.”
The creative industry is one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors, driving economic growth nationally. Latest research shows that local economies have grown their creative industries employment by an average of 11 per cent, twice as fast as other sectors.
For more information about the course at Gateshead College and other apprenticeships on offer, please visit: www.gateshead.ac.uk
 2018 research by Nesta in partnership with the Creative Industries Council
"This new apprenticeship has been developed to fulfill a demand from some of the biggest employers who want to see more creative skills in those entering the job market once they leave education."
Chris Toon, Acting Principal, Gateshead College