"I did one day a week at The Juice Academy and an hour a day of coursework while at Inflata Nation its the best decision Ive ever made."
A MANCHESTER marketing manager is going “back to school” to give someone the chance to follow in his footsteps and make their name in the leisure industry.
Dylan Evans, 23, graduated from Castlefield's The Juice Academy – an innovative digital marketing apprenticeship programme – five years ago.
He was sponsored through the process by his current employers Inflata Nation, who have launched a series of inflatable theme parks across the UK, having caught their eye while performing some part-time work.
Dylan now heads up the Inflata Nation marketing team and says his choice to ignore university in favour of gaining an on-the-job qualification is the “best decision he’s ever made”.
He’s returning to The Juice Academy this month to find an apprentice to help him spread the word of a business on the bounce.
Dylan, from Altrincham, said: “While I was in sixth form I was working for the Inflata Nation team as a party host.
“The owners, Matt and Michelle Ball, were looking to take on someone to liaise with the media and to produce content, and they kindly said I had talent.
“I had started a YouTube channel, Dancy Happy, through which I learned to edit videos.
“Matt and Michelle organised a place for me at The Juice Academy and took me on as an apprentice.
“I had already been offered a place at John Moores University in Liverpool but at that moment I decided to take a different path.
“The work was university level and I was getting experience at the same time.
“I did one day a week at the Academy and an hour a day of coursework while at Inflata – and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
“I spoken to some of my friends who have done degrees in marketing and they are not at the level I’m at.”
Dylan’s decision was vindicated last year when he was nominated for the Rising Star prize at the prestigious MPA Awards.
The Juice Academy, based in Castlefield, was established by Tangerine PR. As well as Inflata Nation it has worked with major brands including Social Chain, Manchester Airport and AMC Cinemas.
Dylan added: “I’ve met with the guys down there and they have put up an advert for the students to apply for.
“Those who are interested will then come to a boot camp where employers and potential employees meet up.
“It will be great to meet the applicants and also really useful for them to know that I have been in their shoes, and not too long ago.”
Sandy Lindsay MBE, founder and chairwoman of the Juice Academy, said: “We are delighted to be working with Dylan to find an apprentice for the Inflata Nation marketing team.
“We are so proud of how much he has achieved since he was with us and it is extremely satisfying to see someone who came through one of our programmes coming back to find the next generation of marketing rising stars.
“We launched The Juice Academy in response to a growing skills gap in all areas of commercial social media.
“We’re successfully nurturing the digital talent of the future while offering on-the-job experience.
“This is an incredible opportunity at Inflata Nation for young people around the North West. The company has a superb history of looking after young people and giving them life-long careers.”
Inflata Nation was born out of the Jump Nation theme parks, opening its first inflatable centre in Trafford Park in October 2017.
Since then it has created further sites in Runcorn, Glasgow, Birmingham and Beverley, while it has also staged pop-up event Inflata Town in Southport, Merseyside, earlier this year.
Between October 2017 and May 2018 Inflata Nation welcomed more than 162,000 bouncers through its doors.
A new theme park in North Shields is due to open later this month (April 13), while the company aims to branch out with a first international launch by the end of 2020.