A Newton Aycliffe marketing firm continues to grow thanks to a future-proofing process which is nurturing tomorrow’s talent.
Thrive Marketing has linked up with Teesside University to develop web, journalism and design students into prospective employees.
Their forward-thinking has already boosted staff numbers since its launch in 2014, following the merger of Echo Graphics and Au Fait Marketing.
Newtonian Tom Armstrong – a popular DJ in his spare time – is the latest Teesside Uni student to join the Thrive team as a web developer.
The 21-year-old former Woodham Academy student is currently studying a BA (Hons) in web and multimedia at Teesside.
Thrive director Rachel Townsend Green said: “Tom is part of our plans for continued growth.
“When we were building our growth strategy, we recognised that there is a significant challenge when trying to recruit good web developers.
“We wanted to be in a position where we could establish relationships with talented developers before they became graduates, so we got in touch with Teesside University.
“Now we get the pick of the under-grads. We go along and see their work and have a chat with them. We then invite them to our offices for an interview and they’ll do a trial period then work for us during their placement year.
“During that placement year they’re earning money but also developing. They’re also enhancing their employability prospects and softer skills such as teamwork, communication, working to deadlines, managing projects etc.
“The plan is to take at least one under-graduate for their placement each year. By doing this, the team will continue to grow, but it will be doing so with talent that we’ve spotted, helped to nurture and develop and bring them on.
“They’ll complement the existing full-time permanent graduate employees that we’ve always had.”
Another web developer in the team, Connor Brough, from Darlington, is already going through the graduate placement scheme with Thrive and will soon go into his final Uni year with a full-time job offer in his back pocket.
Thrive has also taken on a graphic design intern for the summer, as well as a local secondary school student on a work placement.
“A lot of what we do is about spotting upcoming talent and helping to nurture and develop it,” added Rachel.
“Anyone who we want to give a job to, they do an internship with us and that gives them a chance to find out if they like working here, they like the team and the job.
“It also gives us a chance to see if they can do the job and if they fit into the team.
“But we also put it out to the vote, so our current staff get a say in whether they think they’ll fit in or not.
“Our recruitment process has been likened to that of the SAS! That sounds a bit dramatic, but we think it’s a healthy way of recruiting new staff and making sure we keep a happy shop.”
Thrive has nine full-time members of staff as well as two part-time, and they are now working with more firms on Aycliffe Business Park as well as some high-profile national brands.
Rachel added: “Touch wood, so far month-on-month we’re exceeding our forecast.
“Some of the clients we’ve picked up since coming through our transitional period have been much larger and well-known profiles, and we’re collaborating with a lot more companies on the business park, which can be seen in the work we’re doing with The Xcel Centre, Gregg Little Testing Centre, ROF 59, Stiller Warehousing and Distribution, Raisco and Carlton and Co. to name but a few.
“We’re also working with some high-profile clients including Premier Fitness Supplements, Muscle Mousse brand and Dr Zak’s.
“We’re doing exactly what it says on the tin and thriving as a business.”