Lewis Marsh, Graphic Design & Marketing Executive

 9 May 2018

Lewis is the Head of Studio at SharpFutures, a social enterprise, where he manages and creates graphics which are used for print or online. He started off as a graphic design apprentice and in 2018 was awarded Apprentice of the Year at the Creative & Cultural Skills Awards.

"I always know that my day is going to be creative and productive which is what makes it so enjoyable."

SharpFutures supports young people from diverse backgrounds get into employment in the creative digital and tech sectors. They offer a range of ways for people to transition into the workplace including apprenticeships, work experience and volunteering.

Throughout his time at the social enterprise Lewis has been an important advocate for the benefits of apprenticeships and work-based learning.

He told us “I’d rather learn on the job and get real world experience than be sat in a classroom. Doing an apprenticeship gives you the chance to get experience and build your portfolio.”

Large scale creative projects

Lewis started at Sharpfutures as a graphic design apprentice and over the last four years has worked with a number of high profile clients.

He developed the branding for MCR Greater, a website created by SharpFutures apprentices and placements which is supported by the BBC, ITV, Manchester City Council and Manchester Metropolitan University. It has shared over 300 creative digital events across Greater Manchester. 

What I enjoy most about the work I do is getting to see and build the process myself from screen to print

To demonstrate the benefits of apprenticeships, and engage potential apprentices in a fun and exciting way, Lewis created the SharpFutures Twitter mascot Heather Paprika, a purple, 23-year old runner who tweets about what it’s like to work in the creative industries.

Lewis likes being able to see the creative process in action. He says “What I enjoy most about the work I do is getting to see and build the process myself from screen to print, creating the graphics in software such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign to then seeing the physical print in use. It amazes me each time.”

Setting the bar high

Since March 2017 SharpFutures has been offering work experience opportunities to young people from schools and colleges across Greater Manchester.

Lewis works closely with these students, not only helping them gain practical experience in animation and short video, but also supporting them to develop soft skills such as answering the phone, greeting clients, writing emails and communicating to a manager.

Lewis says “Everything you learn while being on an apprenticeship, from basic communication skills to technical skills, are vital as you are producing content for actual clients. It’s also a great way to build your professional portfolio.”

When new starters are shown around SharpFutures’ base at The Sharp Project, a creative digital production hub, they are made aware that Lewis designed all of the signs, maps and posters in the building.

They are astounded that the work was created by a fellow apprentice, and this helps to set high standards about the kind of work that is expected.

Apprentice of the Year 2018

Lewis won the award for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to his work at SharpFutures, and his innovative and imaginative approach to his work.

It’s such an honour to have been awarded Apprentice of the Year for all the work I’ve done.

He says on winning: “It came as a complete shock. I never expected to win so when I heard my name called I froze for a second because I thought I must have misheard the presenter!

It’s such an honour to have been awarded Apprentice of the Year for all the work I’ve done. I have to say I’m proud.”

He plans to stay with SharpFutures in his new role as Head of Studio continuing to help new apprentices coming through the creative industry.

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