Replicating the spirit of the MPA, two highly respected Manchester based businesses have forged a new alliance to help alleviate the talent shortage in PR and create new jobs in the sector.

After ten years of success in delivering social media apprenticeships, The Juice Academy recently announced new partnerships to launch new apprenticeship qualifications including PR and Communications with teaching delieverd by practitioners from leading PR agency, Smoking Gun.

Businesses open to employing a PR apprentice are being sought for the new apprenticeship which begins on 31 August.

A maximum of 20 businesses will join the first cohort, adding a junior member to their marketing or communications team whilst they study for a Level 4 Public Relations and Communications apprenticeship scheme. 

The new training scheme was announced at The Academy’s recent tenth birthday celebration with Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham in attendance describing the Juice apprenticeships as “pivotal” in Manchester’s  educational overhaul and future plans. The Juice Academy has already trained over 600 apprentices in digital marketing to date via its existing apprenticeships.

Teaching will begin this summer at Smoking Gun’s office in Manchester City centre with the apprenticeship lasting between 12-18 months. All recruitment and vetting of apprentices is covered by The Juice Academy for a small fee of £450 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 managing director Rick Guttridge says; “We’ve spent years perfecting our proven process to help clients achieve both communications and business goals resulting in over 70 peer judges award wins including 7 global effectiveness awards. Bringing that level and depth of PR expertise to the fore in teaching a new generation of practitioners is hugely energising for our highly experienced senior team. 

“With the highly publicised talent shortages in creative sectors and the collapse of undergraduate solus PR degrees in the UK, we hope that this apprenticeship will prove popular and successful in attracting talent to the industry. We’re working with The Juice Academy to reach as wide an audience as possible and encourage applicants from all walks of life.”    

Juice Academy Director, Sandy Lindsay MBE, adds: “As we look to build on the success of the last ten years of The Juice Academy, this new accreditation is another step forward in our plans to help more candidates launch their careers. Partnering with Apprentify and the best practitioners in their field is the secret of our success and we look forward to this continuing with Smoking Gun at our side.

‘We see the many benefits that businesses large and small alike enjoy from adding an apprentice to their ranks, not least fresh thinking, leading industry insight and a cost effective addition to their headcount in a time when many marketers are being tasked with doing more with less.”

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


For further information please contact 07887 942926.

Notes to editors

Independent agency Smoking Gun works across many areas of public relations and reputation management with B2B and B2C clients in a mixture of sectors. Brands it represents include Alton Towers Resort, PG Tips, Eurocamp, the NHS and Interflora.

Smoking Gun has won numerous AMEC global effectiveness awards

Businesses can claim a £1,000 incentive if the apprentice Is under 19 and the business is not an Apprentice Levy payer.