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Department of Education gives green light to Smoking Gun’s PR & Comms apprenticeship with the Juice Academy

Senior Management Team at Smoking Gun

The DFE has greenlit plans for Smoking Gun to partner with The Juice Academy, part of the Apprentify Group, to begin teaching a Level 4 PR and Communications apprenticeship from September.   

Interest has already been strong in the much needed entry route to the industry with Smoking Gun walking the walk and committing to employing an apprentice, along with heavyweight agency Tangerine and  Manchester Youth Zone. Now more businesses are being sought to employ a PR apprentice and bolster their EDI efforts as well as their headcount.

The first cohort will be capped at a maximum of 20 apprentices, who will benefit from being taught by leading industry practitioners from Smoking Gun - the reigning PRCA and Prolific North PR agency of the year.

Employers will be adding a junior member to their marketing or PR functions  whilst they study for a Level 4 Public Relations and Communications apprenticeship scheme.  

The new training scheme was initially announced at The Juice Academy’s tenth birthday celebration with Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham in attendance describing the Juice apprenticeships as “pivotal” in Manchester’s  educational overhaul and future plans. Now after extensive application and planning the Government has given the go ahead to begin teaching.

The course will begin from September and apprentices can attend at Smoking Gun’s office in Manchester City centre or virtually,  with the apprenticeship lasting between 12-18 months. 

The recruitment and vetting of apprentices is covered by The Juice Academy for a small fee of £1,000 with the employers interviewing and selecting their choice from a shortlist. Employers could also be subject to a £1,000 Government incentive if criteria are met.

Smoking Gun CEO Rick Guttridge says: “We’ve launched the careers of many brilliant PRs and communicators over the years so to turn that know-how into a formal training programme is a brilliant and natural next step. 

Being taught by practitioners who are at the top of their game - as shown by the household name clients we represent and our agency having around 100 peer judged industry awards for the quality of our work- is an enticing prospect for the apprentices and their employers. We look forward to meeting and developing the future agency and inhouse stars of tomorrow”    

Jonathan Fitchew group CEO Apprentify, adds: “This latest addition to the Juice Academy accreditations has been a long while in the making and is another vital cog in helping candidates launch PR careers. The partnership with Apprentify and teaching by the best practitioners in their field is the secret of the Juice Academy’s success and we look forward to this continuing with Smoking Gun at our side.”

Businesses wanting more information about what’s involved in taking on an apprenticeship should visit

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