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Apprentice of the Year urges more people to follow in her footsteps

11 Feb 2021
A graduate who struggled to find work despite securing a degree has called for others to consider the apprenticeship route after being crowned Apprentice of the Year.

A graduate who struggled to find work despite securing a degree has called for others to consider the apprenticeship route after being crowned Apprentice of the Year.

Georgia Carly, a Digital Marketing Apprentice at the Growth Company, was crowned Apprentice of the Year at the Made in Manchester Awards, powered by Pro Manchester.

After graduating from university Georgia, from Sandbach, found herself struggling to find work and realised that the training opportunities offered in an apprenticeship would really benefit her career. Georgia applied for a position with the Growth Company as a Digital Marketing Apprentice, delivered by GC Educations and Skills, because the creative aspect of the role appealed to her.

During her apprenticeship, she has managed social media campaigns and online events, and is now feeling confident about securing a permanent role when her placement ends in March. To mark National Apprenticeship Week she said: Despite having secured a degree and professional experience before an apprenticeship, I was still finding it difficult to be given a chance in the job market. Following a past role in which training opportunities were denied I knew that I needed a different approach to work moving forward.

“Seeking a role with an educational balance became important to me, to develop the digital skills I needed to propel myself further within marketing whilst gaining professional experience. Whilst an apprenticeship route is never one which I thought to take initially – it seemed the perfect fit for me, and so I jumped at the opportunity.”

During this period of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for young people to think about their future. The Growth Company is an award-winning social enterprise with a mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. GC Education and Skills has been providing high-quality education and skills to individuals and businesses for 30 years, and offer several alternatives to the traditional academic route, including:

  • Apprenticeships – these are real jobs within a company, lasting for at least one year. Vacancies cover a range of sectors and industries, and they aren’t just for young people. You can apply for an apprenticeship at any age.
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Study Programmes – for those aged 16-18, study programmes are ideal for young people who don’t quite feel ready for an apprenticeship and want some hands-on experience first. These programmes are offered at nine training centres based across Greater Manchester and St Helens.
  • Skills Support for Growth – a programme designed for those aged 15-24 currently not in education, employment or training, it equips young people with the vocational skills, confidence and work experience needed to help them prepare for the world of work and further education.

Georgia began her apprenticeship in early March of 2020, and only had one in-person class before Covid-19 forced GC Education and Skills to move her learning online. Despite the challenges of virtual learning Georgia felt well supported by her employers and tutors and was thankful that many of her colleagues stepped forward to offer their help where possible. With an allotted slot in her working week to focus on her studies, Georgia was able to stay on track and even complete additional tasks to enhance her knowledge.

Sam Booth, Chief Executive of Pro Manchester, was delighted to award Georgia the ‘Apprentice of the Year Award’ and said: “The Made in Manchester Awards celebrate the best of Manchester’s young business talent, up to the age of 35. It’s incredibly important that as a part of these awards we recognise and play tribute to the talent of young apprentices, and the importance of fresh talent in the work force. A huge congratulations to Georgia, and to her colleague Joe Grindrod, another talented Growth Company apprentice who also made the shortlist.”

Asked whether she’d recommend undertaking an apprenticeship with the Growth Company, Georgia said “I would definitely recommend the Growth Company to other aspiring apprentices. Starting right on the outbreak of a pandemic has certainly had its challenges, but to have my final months of being an apprentice marked with a win at the Made in Manchester Awards has been more than I could have ever asked for. The support and mentoring received from colleagues has been absolutely instrumental in my progress, and I’m forever grateful.”

Jon-Paul Rimington, MD of GC Education and Skills, said: “The apprenticeships offered by GC Education and Skills are suitable for school leavers and older learners alike, and with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 there’s never been a better time to consider applying for further skills and training, including options that can be accessed from your own home. Winning the Made in Manchester Award is a testament to the hard work and determination Georgia has shown during her time with us, and we’re all really proud of her success.”

For more information about the Growth Company’s Education and Skills offer visit

To find out more about the Made in Manchester Awards, visit