McrPride_team 2017 (1).jpg

Ever since leaving college in 2015, I’d been determined to secure a job that didn’t really feel like a job.

 I was an art student and the thought of not having the freedom to express myself sounded like hell to me. You know the cheesy ‘Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’ quote? That’s what I wanted. Rather, needed. (I’m a gemini. Fellow gems, you know what I mean.) 

I’d drifted in and out of retail positions to support myself, but admittedly, forcing myself to smile sweetly at obnoxiously rude middle aged women giving me grief because I ‘wasn’t serving them fast enough’ was, as you can imagine, aggressively uninspiring. My creativity ground to a halt in every aspect of my life and I really felt like I had more to offer. 

After scouring the web for what seemed like an eternity, I stumbled across a Social Media Apprenticeship offered by The Juice Academy, a digital agency running the UK’s first industry-led digital marketing apprenticeship. I’d never considered taking the apprenticeship route before and I spent a while toying with the idea of applying for their boot camp recruitment day, but in the end I swallowed my pride (excuse the pun) and sent off my application. 

I’ve been heavily involved with social media antics from an early age and I’ve just about seen it all now, (I’m an expert in memes and Vine. Try me). I considered myself well connected and pretty educated in internet culture, therefore I was sure I stood a fighting chance. There were at least 50 young people and only 20 employers at the interview, Manchester Pride being one of them. Manchester Pride was the employer I had my eye on and luckily enough, the lovely Mark Fletcher (CEO) saw something in my wide-eyed, goofy self and chose to hire me.

And now here I am! 

My first day was of course a little nerve-wracking. Starting a new job in an industry you’ve never worked in before can be a tad overwhelming, but the team put me at ease and within a few days I was settled and eager to develop my skills on the job. 

The Manchester Pride Festival was only a month away at the time and I had a lot to learn, but I received so much support from The Juice Academy and the Manchester Pride team that I almost forgot I’d started a new job, I felt like one of the gang *insert cool sunglasses emoji*.

Working my first Pride festival was genuinely one of the most exciting and inspiring experiences of my life, from photographing the likes of Clean Bandit from the front pit of the Thomas Cook Airlines stage, to gathering video/boomerang/action shot footage of the floats in the Manchester Pride Parade, and catching people on camera screaming Abba songs at the top of their lungs in the silent disco (very entertaining) - covering the festival digitally and also experiencing it for the first time was unreal. I was totally and utterly in awe of the team I work with, the production, the artists, the atmosphere and the sheer amount of people that came to celebrate.

8 months down the line and I’ve also worked my very first Magical Pride event at Disneyland Paris, covered Superbia panel events and been a part of some really special campaigns.

There’s never a dull day in the Manchester Pride office - I’m always presented with something fresh and exciting to work on that both challenges and excites me. They know how to keep me on my toes! Design work has always been something I enjoy, and the Manchester Pride team ensure they set me tasks to exercise and further hone these skills through Photoshop work, video editing and bits of graphic design. Through The Juice Academy and Manchester Pride I’ve learnt about virtual and augmented reality, how to write engaging content for Manchester Pride’s social media, how schedule and set up adverts, use social listening tools, help to run and maintain Manchester Pride’s biggest social media channels and so many more cool nerdy things. As a whole, my experience as an apprentice has been nothing short of incredible and I feel blessed to be excited to come to work every day.

From Pride, to parades, to promo to Disneyland Paris - I’m living my best life with Manchester Pride and I couldn’t be happier about it. If you’re considering taking the apprenticeship route and are looking for a sign that you should go ahead and send that application, then this is it! Do it now! You won’t regret it. 


- Phoebe