Supporting Role 

John Savage is managing director of Flame Heating Spares, a North East-headquartered heating and plumbing merchant that works with some of industry’s top brands. He is supporting 17-year-old Harriet Bell, a business management student at Gateshead College, on a project to create a marketing and social media campaign for his company

Harriet Bell 

I enrolled on a two-year business and management course at Gateshead College in the autumn of 2016. As part of my course, I was tasked with creating and delivering a marketing and social media campaign for a local company. Working with three other students, I outlined our initial ideas in a presentation to John and thankfully he was impressed! We’re now working with him to promote a new product – a boiler that can temporarily be fitted in care homes, schools and other organisations, if their existing boiler breaks down. Our ideas include personalised, handwritten letters to prospective clients, an eye-catching fridge magnet that contains useful information about the product and a social media campaign to target clients via channels such as Facebook and Instagram.

It’s great that the college has given me this opportunity. Working with John and his team has helped me to improve my communication, presentation and time-management skills and I’ve also learned some important business lessons such as making sure the marketing strategy supports the overall goals of the business. In return I’m producing some engaging new marketing content and helping the company to get more value from its social media channels.

I’m not sure which career path I want to follow but my course will give me useful skills that I can apply in several different job roles.

John Savage 

Having started my career as an apprentice, I am keen to get involved in the community and support institutions like Gateshead College, which prepares the workforces of the future. My son actually enrolled at the college so it made sense and was the perfect fit.

I have been actively involved with the college since the summer and was immediately impressed by the creativity and commitment displayed by Harriet and the rest of her team, for our ‘Heat for Hire’ service. We are always innovating at Flame and it was refreshing to see Harriet’s drive and determination throughout the project, especially given her relatively young age.

She has continued to impress me over the last three months with her dedication and positive attitude. As with most of my business meetings, I tend to keep things informal. When I meet with Harriet – at least once a month – she usually leads the discussions! I am there to guide her, offer my thoughts on her project and work in general, as well as suggest ideas relating to the heating and plumbing trade where necessary.

Whichever career path Harriet decides to take, she has the ability and ‘can-do’ attitude, to make a success of herself. After all, anything is possible with hard work and perseverance and Harriet certainly has a bright future ahead of her.

Gateshead College
www.gateshead.ac.uk/employer

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