Introducing Social Sidekick - Cherwell Business Awards Apprenticeship of the Year finalists

Congratulations to Social Sidekick in Banbury on being selected as one of our Cherwell Business Awards Apprenticeship of the Year finalists 2017! Read on to find out what makes their Apprenticeships stand out from the crowd...

Catalogues 4 Business have been based in Banbury for over 19 years producing product catalogues for a wide range of customers. In 2013, C4B started a new Social Media Management Agency called SocialSidekick, designed to take the hassle out of social media for small businesses.

Social Sidekick’s Apprenticeship story

The firm recruited their first Apprentice approximately three years ago to help start and manage the service. Since then, six more Apprentices have been trained. Apprentice numbers are decided based on the number of current clients plus any increase in sales forecast for the future.

Apprentices are trained in customer services, call handling and many aspects of digital marketing via internal workshops and their Apprenticeship course. They are trained to manage a portfolio of around 10 clients, with a clear line of support from a supervisor and a manager. This enables them to gain real experience and understanding of a digital marketing environment with all the associated accompanying skills that are required to be successful.

Above all, Apprentices are encouraged to use their initiative and to not be afraid of making mistakes. They are also encouraged to be proactive with their clients, offering extra services such as blogs, Facebook competitions and adverts. Monthly workshops with the Digital Director cover a range of areas such as Content Marketing, Facebook Advertising, Telephone Sales Training and Blogging. Apprentices meet with their clients if local and have telephone calls to discuss progress of the social media accounts and ideas for improvement.

One of their first Apprentices, Rosie England, completed level 3 Social Media Digital Marketing and is currently halfway through level 4 (foundation degree). She has been promoted to Senior Social Media Executive where she is the main point of contact for the other Apprentices’ queries.

Creativity and innovation

Digital Director Richard Hunter says: “We have worked hard to establish a proven Apprenticeship scheme that has been running for three years with great results. Our company is small and we are proud of the number of Apprentices we have taken on and supported through their learning. Equally we have been amazed by the Apprentices and the ideas, innovations and value they have brought to the business. We have been continuously surprised by our Apprentices at how creative and innovative they can be.”

Chloe Welch, Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprentice, says: “Joining Social Sidekick (Catalogues4Business) as a Social Media and Digital Marketing Apprentice has allowed me to begin my career in Digital Marketing while also learning invaluable skills and knowledge on the job which will be beneficial throughout my time in this industry.”

“In-depth and concise webinars by our training provider, Baltic Training, have been well supported by workshops delivered by our Director, Richard Hunter, and one-to-ones with our Social Media Team Leader, Rachel Laycock, to give all Apprentices a well-rounded understanding of Marketing and the Business world."

One of their customers, Webmart, say: ““We love Social Sidekick! They worked hard to understand our business and brand and got it straight away. Not only do they share our content but they find some real gems to share for us. And the team are ever-willing and lovely to work with. Can't ask for more!”