Caption: From the left, Laura Delahunty and Rich Hales (both from CWLEP Growth Hub) with Michael Cunnane, Jade Summers, Nina Bale and Charlotte Blair (Ginger the Art of Print)

A fine art printing company in Warwick has recruited its first apprentice after receiving help from a leading business support organisation.

Ginger the Art of Print was set-up from owner Nina Bale’s garden shed in 2009 before moving to commercial premises in Warwick nine months later when she employed her first full-time staff member Michael Cunnane.

Since then, the duo has been busy working with artists and photographers to re-produce their original artwork.

After the first ten weeks of lockdown last year, the business began to receive orders again from its loyal customer base – and the success of its social media thanks to help from work experience student Jade Summers, made Nina re-assess their strategy which led to her contacting the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub for advice on recruiting an apprentice.

Nina explained: “The ‘Ginger’ part of the business name was for two reasons, as we work predominately with artists and photographers, I felt having a colour in the name of the business would make us memorable and relatable, and since ginger is the colour of my hair, it seemed the most obvious colour to go with. The ‘art of print’ part is the core of what we do, printing art.

“I love my business and as I have never employed an apprentice before I wasn’t sure how to go about it and was keen to get it right.

“I found out about the Growth Hub and I had a meeting with one of their business navigators Laura Delahunty and she was really supportive as well as introducing us to Coventry & Warwickshire Employment Solutions. I know it sounds odd because I have been in business for 12 years but I have never had to conduct a job interview before because Michael was someone I knew from the printing industry.

“Coventry & Warwickshire Employment Solutions looked over the advert, went through every application with me and helped me with questions to ask at the interviews. It was the hand-holding I needed through every stage because I wouldn’t have felt as confident as I do that we have found the right person.”

And that person is Charlotte Blair, who has been appointed Digital Marketing Apprentice at Ginger the Art of Print and will be dividing her time between promoting the business to learning about printing.

Nina added: “We have never really marketed ourselves before and have generally relied on word of mouth.

“The majority of our customers are based in Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, so Charlotte will be focusing on raising our profile on different platforms and from further afield.

“She will also be finding out more about the printing and creating card layouts as well as meeting customers which will also lead to social media content.

“This is a really exciting step forward for the business and the support and help of the Growth Hub has been invaluable.”

Laura Delahunty, a business navigator at CWLEP Growth Hub, said it was great the Growth Hub had been able to help Ginger the Art of Print recruit its first apprentice.

She said: “One of the many services which the Growth Hub provides is to help businesses expand and we were able to refer Nina to a number of support programmes to explore moving the business forwards and provide lots of resource and information along the way.

“Her main focus was to take on a new employee, and we gave information on a variety of schemes.

“We supported Nina to advertise her apprenticeship role, vet her candidates and fine-tune her interview skills – and all of this is free.

“The Coventry and Warwickshire Employment Solutions website is a great way of promoting vacancies and since we launched it last November, the number of job-seekers and employers using the site is increasing each month.”

CW Employment Solutions is funded by the CWLEP in partnership with Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, the District and Borough Councils, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and the FSB.