April Skipp, marketing and development intern
April joined Yorkshire Dance as their Marketing and Development Intern. She made such an impression on them that within a year, they had created a new position in the organisation for her and she is now the Marketing Officer. In 2016 she won the Creative & Cultural Skills Intern of the Year Award.
Joining Yorkshire Dance in September 2015, April’s motivation, determination and good humour made her an invaluable asset from the start. She admitted when she felt unsure or nervous of new tasks but never backed down or shied away.
Antony Dunn, her line manager and the Marketing & Communications Manager at Yorkshire Dance said: “It feels almost fraudulent to say that I’ve trained her as for the most part, she has trained herself.”
“She has constantly thrown herself enthusiastically into tasks which have been new to her. My role has become more one of a mentor and providing support as needed.”
Motivated from the beginning
April gave an excellent interview when applying for the post and despite her lack of direct experience in arts marketing, her passion for the industry, her willingness to work incredibly hard, her clear-sightedness and intellect were absolutely compelling.
April’s motivation, determination and good humour made her an invaluable asset from the start.
As soon as she started her role, April used her initiative and had enrolled herself on a YouTube bootcamp.
From this training, she has successfully overhauled the company’s YouTube channel and their long stagnant subscriber numbers, began to grow.
The next four months, she trained herself in film- and photo-editing, website maintenance (WordPress), graphic design (Quark), data management (Salesforce) and electronic direct mail (Vertical Response).
She has accepted every new challenge, for example conquering her nerves to present a round-up of dance activity in Yorkshire for BBC Radio Leeds every three weeks.
Helping Yorkshire Dance grow
As well as their YouTube channel, April also assumed control of their other social media channels and again, achieved significant increases in their engagement through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
April is a wonderful example of how employing a young person and giving them responsibility can enhance an organisation with fresh ideas
Anthony said: “April is inventive and creative, proposing and implementing new ideas.
"She has identified weaknesses in our existing programme of e-bulletins to various stakeholder groups and has also designed and maintained a weekly ‘Dance Diary’ item on our website.
“April’s work with our Fundraising & Development Manager has also been very impressive.
"She has marshalled huge amounts of data, creating spreadsheets detailing fundraising activity and progress which can be easily understood and used by the rest of the organisation, and integrated that information with our Salesforce database, where it can be fully interrogated."
April’s fresh vision has encouraged Yorkshire Dance to work differently. For example: clarifying the different purposes of each of their social media channels and spearheading the company’s shift in data management to a new integrated Salesforce database and box office.
How the employer has benefited
From independently training herself through online tutorials and simply ‘having-a-go’ at new tasks, April has acquired many new skills and a new found confidence in her abilities. So much so, she has now begun to train other colleagues.
Yorkshire Dance has provided me with a wealth of training, whilst at the same time giving me the freedom to develop my own ideas
She has volunteered to join her line manager Anthony in the course he runs - the Essentials of Arts marketing - that is delivered to dance artists.
She will also deliver similar training by herself, to teenagers from schools around Leeds for the Grand Futures programme.
April has also started training colleagues at Yorkshire Dance in graphic design, data management and web maintenance.
April has successfully found her place within Yorkshire Dance’s team. She is supportive and helpful to everyone. She understands the various pressures felt by other departments, and how the Marketing team should best respond to those pressures and demands.
Anthony said: “As the only other member of Marketing staff, I have found an enormous pressure lifted from me as April has taken on a wealth of day-to-day marketing, press & PR activity.
“This has enabled me to prioritise strategic activity, which has been neglected, including; a three-year Marketing & Communications strategy and a brief for the design and build of a new website.”
Being part of the Skills Awards
Anthony nominated April for her award saying: “I don’t like to imagine working without her now, and I’m delighted that I have another eight months with her as my colleague. I’m very proud to endorse her for this award.”
In the view of the judging panel, April was awarded the Intern of the Year Award because: “April is a wonderful example of how employing a young person and giving them responsibility can enhance an organisation with fresh ideas and bring enthusiasm to drive it forward.”
April said of winning the award: “It is an absolute privilege and honour to have been awarded Intern of the Year. Yorkshire Dance has provided me with a wealth of training, whilst at the same time giving me the freedom to develop my own ideas and make an impact.
“I owe a huge thank you to my manager Antony Dunn and the rest of the team who have given me excellent guidance and support throughout my internship. I am delighted to have won and excited to see what the future holds!
“I’m happy to say that a month before my internship came to an end Yorkshire Dance created a new position within the organisation for me! I’m sure winning the award, had something to do with it.”