Teapot Creative have a new junior web designer. Alex Tonkins or ‘Tonks’ as we all know him, specialises in designing and building Word Press brochure sites. If his name sounds familiar that’s because he’s not actually that new as he’s been with us now for just over a year but throughout almost all of that time he was a trainee web designer completing his apprenticeship in partnership with Strode College and Teapot. We are delighted to announce that he is no longer an apprentice having finished his course and is now a fully-fledged junior web designer.
Roll back the clock to 13th August 2015 and in walked an 18 year old Tonks to the Teapot studio and so began his apprenticeship. Punctual. Smart. Polite. Good sense of humour. Football mad. The signs that he’d fit in were good. Although he was an I.T savvy sort of guy with a stack of relevant qualifications on his CV, at this point he barely had any web design experience.
The first website project Tonks was in charge of was an internal project for Teapot. The Sugar Cube Gallery – our little art gallery here at the studio needed a website so Tonks rose to the challenge of building one. Looking back it’s clear now that this was the ideal first ‘real’ project for him as it gave him a chance to try different techniques out whilst working to deliver a clear brief provided from by Lizzie. With this site under his belt he gradually took on site work before eventually taking responsibility for entire client projects. Other projects Tonks has been the lead designer for include – Forest Electrical, Killunaig Church House and Swallowcliffe Interiors – all are pictured below.
A year on and Tonks is a busy and very popular member of the web team and the wider Teapot collective. He is building websites on his own, handling complex design briefs and working closely with clients to deliver their vision and taking his technical know how from strength to strength.
Reaching the end of any apprenticeship is the result of a successful partnership between the apprentice, the employer and the college. The first Teapot apprentice programme began in 2013 and eventually saw our IT Manager, Alex Conniff, complete his training before taking on a full time role in the company. Three years on and Alex is an integral part of the team keeping the whole show on the road day after day no matter what technical problems crop up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him get in a sweat about a server issue or anything for that matter.
Teapot’s Second Apprentice
This being the second time round we were better prepared yet no less excited at the prospect of taking on a an apprentice. We had a great deal of hands on help from Tonks’s supervisors at Strode College, Andrew Harwood and Sally Taylor, who were both incredibly supportive throughout the entire process.
One of the many things about Tonks that has impressed us all was his ability to handle the double commitment of his part-time job at Sainsburys in his hometown of Street with his Monday – Friday apprenticeship with us. Despite regularly having to work weekend shifts or finish his day job with us and then head down to the supermarket, he never made a big deal of it or allowed it to interfere with his apprenticeship.
I can’t help but think that if the Tonks of a year ago could see how far he’s come he’d be thrilled although perhaps not totally surprised. Driven and committed are two words that sprung to mind soon after meeting him. Add bright, hard working, creative and a good laugh and you’d have a pretty accurate description of our Tonks. Oh and amazingly good at Pac Man on the studio arcade machine!
The Final Say
Let’s finish with the thoughts of Tonks himself as he’s knows most about what its been like being an apprentice. Before I hand over to him however, if you’d like to find out more about what taking on an apprentice is like – everything from the contract with the college, the recruitment process, the college modules to the funding and costs then please do get in touch for a chat. The apprenticeship route has worked extremely well for us. Why not your company too?
And now ladies and gentlemen, here’s Tonks…
On the experience…
“In the year that I have been an apprentice at Teapot Creative I have learnt an astounding amount. I came in with almost no knowledge about websites in general, and a year later I am building them from start to finish! I love it!”
On becoming an apprentice…
“Choosing the Apprenticeship program to progress my career was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As much as I was pressured into going to University I stuck to my guns and chose to do an Apprenticeship as I could gain real life working experience and knowledge whilst meeting new people. Strode College couldn’t’ve been more supportive throughout the whole process. I would definitely choose it again!”
“Working at Teapot Creative is an experience in itself. It’s a very relaxed environment with everyone being so easy to get a long with. Nobody is on their own in here which is one of the things that I like the most.”