Ladder for Shropshire: Alisha secures apprenticeship after coming out of her shell at duck store

The Ladder for Shropshire has helped a young woman secure an apprenticeship.

Apprentice Alisha Barnes
Apprentice Alisha Barnes

Alisha Barnes, 21, left school after her GCSEs and started a college course but discovered it was not right for her.

Being unsure of what she wanted, coupled with health problems, Alisha was not able to progress with getting a career underway.

Her confidence plummeted and she drifted until her job coach suggested a Kickstart opportunity at the Shrewsbury Duck Store.

Run by Andy Evans, the business specialises in personalised gifts including baby blankets, bears, mugs, cushions and many more, but most significantly rubber ducks.

Alisha’s strength was art and she commenced as a creative sales assistant, designing T-shirts and personal motifs, and of course ducks.

The Shrewsbury Duck Store, situated in the Darwin Centre, welcomes customers but also sells online. Alisha felt that its social media presence could be improved and Andy encouraged her with this, resulting in 28,000 followers on TikTok.

The majority of online orders are now as a result of Alisha’s imaginative campaigns. At the end of the Kickstart programme Andy wanted to support Alisha to progress further.

He knew very little about apprenticeships so approached the Ladder for Shropshire for advice. He was put in touch with SBC Training which offers the level three digital marketing apprenticeship and Alisha has now commenced the course.

Alisha said: “Kickstart and the apprenticeship have completely turned my life around. I love what I do, I have the opportunity to gain higher level qualifications and my confidence has soared.”

Andy added: “We are looking forward to seeing what results we can achieve with Alisha following the course she is doing with SBC Training and how that can increase the number of customers to our website and in store.”

Amanda Carpenter, project officer for the Ladder for Shropshire, said: “It was great to be able to help Andy and Alisha.

"This really shows how progressing from Kickstart on to an apprenticeship can provide the building blocks for a rewarding future.

"I would encourage employers or young people involved with Kickstart to get in touch to explore progression opportunities.”

If a business is looking to recruit an apprentice or offer an apprenticeship to a kickstarter, email amanda@ladderforshropshire.org

The Ladder for Shropshire is the apprenticeships programme supported by the Shropshire Star. Visit ladderforshropshire.org

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