National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) — which this year runs 5 to 11 February 2024 — helps celebrate the achievements of apprentices everywhere and the positive impact they make. Here, we talk to Paige Gravesande — Wildfire’s first PR apprentice — to find out her standout moments over the last 12 months, and what advice she’d give others looking for an apprenticeship in B2B tech PR.
Hi Paige, it’s been one year since you started your apprenticeship at Wildfire. Can you remind us how this journey began for you?
Absolutely! My journey kicked off during my time at sixth form, where I was taking Business, Psychology, Photography, and English Language. I was certain that the traditional university route wasn’t for me, so I was on the hunt for an apprenticeship — specifically in digital marketing.
Although I had secured a place at my first-choice university, a pivotal two-week work placement at a PR and comms agency after my A-levels completely reshaped my career aspirations. I fell in love with the fast-paced, creative world of public relations, leading me to apply for a PR apprenticeship at Wildfire. After a first interview that felt just right, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.
Now that you’ve immersed yourself in the world of tech PR, how has the reality compared with your initial expectations?
Venturing into tech PR, I’ll admit I was stepping into somewhat unknown territory. What caught me off guard was the sheer volume of writing involved in PR — from thought leadership articles to reports, social posts, and by-lines. It’s been an enlightening experience.
Another surprise was how accessible the technology concepts we promote turned out to be. I’d braced myself for a steep learning curve — particularly when it comes to B2B tech — but I actually found the subject matter far easier to get my head around than expected.
Reflecting on your year at Wildfire, what moments stand out as the highlights for you?
Oh, where to start? If I had to choose, my top three moments would include the unforgettable Wildfire Summer party in Southend, which was a fantastic way to bond with the team. Then, there was my first client event at ExCel London, which was hard work, but also a tremendous learning opportunity.
Lastly, attending my first industry awards. For me, the Pros Awards was a moment of pride and inspiration, as it was a night dedicated to celebrating talented Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority PR and comms pros.
Looking back, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to yourself on your first day?
That’s a tough one. I’d probably tell myself that it’s more than okay to ask questions. In fact, curiosity is encouraged and celebrated at Wildfire.
Starting out, it’s natural not to have all the answers, and everyone understands you’re here to learn. The whole Wildfire team was incredibly supportive from day one, making the transition into this new role far smoother than I could have ever imagined.
For students currently navigating the apprenticeship hunt, what guidance would you offer based on your own experiences?
My biggest piece of advice would be to actively seek out experiences in your field of interest. This not only bolsters your resume but also gives you a taste of the industry, helping you stand out. Additionally, having some office experience under your belt can be a game-changer, making the transition into an apprenticeship feel more natural, especially for those who haven’t worked in such environments before.
Also, I’d say, ‘don’t underestimate the power of networking’. Creating a LinkedIn profile and connecting with industry professionals can really open doors and opportunities in your apprenticeship journey.
Interested in job opportunities with Wildfire? Check out our careers page here.