How a chance meeting with Cirkle's Caroline Kinsey produced an Apprentice of the Year

Jessica Kirby, a Cirkle account executive who beat 1,600 other people to an Apprentice of the Year prize last night, says she owes the award to a chance meeting with Cirkle CEO Caroline Kinsey.

Jessica Kirby: Met Cirkle PR CEO Caroline Kinsey by chance

The 20-year-old, who won the Unilever Higher Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards, was working in a restaurant in summer 2012 when she got talking to Kinsey.

"Caroline suggested that we introduce a mailing list," she said. "When I came back to ask for her email at the end of the meal having made one she said she’d hire me if I wasn’t working there. I sent her an email after and had an interview at 9am the next morning."

Kirby joined the agency as an apprentice in September last year. Cirkle was one of the first agencies to sign up to the PRCA’s PR Apprenticeship scheme, which launched last October.

She said she "knew nothing" about PR or apprenticeships before she joined.

"If I had read the definition of PR in the first place I wouldn’t have put myself forward as I wouldn’t have thought my writing or relationship skills were strong enough, but with the apprenticeship you can really throw yourself into things."

Now working as an account executive with clients including PepsiCo and Premier Foods, Kirby added that she now had a head start over university students.

"I’ve met lots of work experience people and interns who said if they’d have had the choice they would have picked an apprenticeship over university. It’s put me at a real advantage."

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