Paul Bell, Mark Easby and Adam Gatenby
Anna Addison

Middlesbrough brand experts ‘grow their own’

Teesside brand experts have appointed their first digital marketing intern at the same time as a long-serving team member is made a director and shareholder.

James Bolton, who has an NCTJ Diploma in journalism, is Better’s first recruit for their new Digital Internship Programme, launched at the end of summer. James will be responsible for originating digital marketing ideas along with measuring and analysing results for clients.

The programme, which sits alongside the Middlesbrough-based company’s Creative Internship and web development apprenticeships, has been set up as part of the agency’s ‘grow your own’ approach to attracting, developing and retaining Teesside’s best creative and digital talent.

In addition to James’s appointment, Adam Gatenby, who joined Better in 2012 as a web developer, has become a company shareholder having been made digital director in 2014.

Adam said: “It’s been clear since I joined Better that career progression, personal development and staff retention is very important. I’m very excited to see my commitment and hard work rewarded with an incredible opportunity to join the management team. We share the same ambitions and we’re excited about the future. I’m very much looking forward to being part of the next stage of growth for the agency.

“It’s vital that we retain good, local talent and we work closely with local universities to do this because so many young people believe they have to move to major cities for digital and creative jobs which just isn’t the case.”

As well as experience in journalism and PR, James has more than three years’ experience in retail content marketing and e-commerce management.

James said: “It’s really exciting to join such a progressive company and I am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. It’s great to be able to combine my love for the area, my creative skills and passion for business in a career with long-term options.”

Better’s head of digital marketing, Shaun Hogg, said: “As an agency in the North East, we have some responsibilities above and beyond producing great work for clients. A major responsibility is raising awareness of opportunities in the digital and creative sectors in our region. If you ask many local students where creative jobs are, their first answer would be London. This is an outdated myth so we want to play an active part in offering those opportunities to grow and nurture local talent. We do in effect ‘grow our own’ talent through our internships and apprenticeships.”

Managing director, Mark Easby, said “Skills development and retention is a key challenge facing many sectors across the region with creative and digital being no different. As an agency, we’re committed to developing local talent and ensuring we have the opportunities, through our continued growth, to keep them in Teesside. James is a perfect example of someone with the raw creative talent, commitment and energy to make a real difference to our growing digital team whilst at the same time, developing their career with us as we grow.”

As well as their own internship and apprenticeship schemes, Better is also involved in supporting local charities and skills initiatives such as High Tide Foundation, which delivers industry-led programmes to increase awareness of employment opportunities for young people on Teesside.

Last month the agency, which was established in 2008, announced its expansion with increased studio space at its HQ in Plenary House on Queen’s Square and the creation of three new jobs to cope with a range of new projects that the company has recently started work on.

The award-winning strategic marketing, creative, web and social media agency now employs a team of 14 and works with a range of clients including PD Ports, the North East Chamber of Commerce, Tees Active Financial, Casper Shipping, Endeavour Partnership, Baltic Training, MyFirmsApp and OddsMonkey.

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