She was a teenage apprentice at a marketing recruitment company.
But in just a few short years, Katrina Cliffe has risen from the very bottom to be a company managing director.
Now she is advocating apprenticeships as a way forward for many of the Huddersfield teenagers who have picked up their exam results this month.
She is working with Kirklees Council to promote the scheme.
Katrina is now KC Communications managing director.
The 32-year-old former pupil at Salendine Nook High School has travelled the world thanks to her job and is now an advocate for local apprentices after setting up her own company KC Communications - working on marketing for industries as wide-ranging as financial services, architecture, online retail and creative.
Katrina said: “When I left school I achieved good grades but going down the route of continuing on with academic study just didn’t appeal to me. So I did some research about what options were out there and apprenticeships seemed the key one. I could earn some money and have a bit of freedom.”
Katrina took an apprenticeship in business administration and ended up working for a marketing recruitment company. From there, she worked on key accounts for a well-renowned advertising agency before moving on to a tech company, globe-trotting to exotic shores to manage and execute their global marketing programme.
She said: “When I think back to when I was an apprentice myself I just saw myself being at a desk and that pretty much being it for the rest of my life. I didn’t envisage all of the exciting opportunities that I have had.
“I certainly didn’t imagine having my own business and being quite prominent in the local business landscape. It really is amazing what you can actually achieve by doing an apprenticeship.”
KC Communications develops marketing strategies to help companies raise their profile by providing support in terms of PR, social media, web development and graphic design. The company is growing rapidly and is set to turnover 100K in the first 12 months.
Katrina places a lot of value on the apprentice role, having employed one already and considering doing it again in the future, paying a full salary and giving performance related bonuses. She also believes in offering extra training courses to develop an apprentices skill set.
Katrina added: “I’m really passionate about supporting other apprentices and shaping the marketing generation of the future. There’s a lot of good bright young people out there that just want to get into the world of work.”
Hundreds of vacancies are available for apprentices across the Kirklees area in topics as wide ranging as manufacturing, engineering, social care, retail, admin, finance, law, marketing, IT, health and beauty and catering.
For more information on apprenticeships call C&K Careers on 01484 225500 (ask for Rachel Jolly or Jacqui Grace) or go to www.facebook.com/kirkleesapprenticeshiphub
Businesses who would like to take on an apprentice can get all the support they need by contacting Kirklees Apprenticeship Hub by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org