Kickstarter triggers chain reaction at Wiltshire firm

By Anita Jaynes on 22 February, 2022

A Wiltshire e-commerce specialist which struggled to find a young ‘kickstarter’ to employ has just awarded him an apprenticeship because he was such a success.

We are Chain’s e-commerce executive position went unfilled for more than six months last year as the business suffered from a lack of public transport to its rural offices.

Directors James Chetwode and Rupert Brown eventually managed to recruit Jim Smith for the role at their headquarters in the picturesque village of Berwick St Leonard, near Salisbury.

Now they have made Jim’s job permanent and enrolled him on a level 3 apprenticeship in digital marketing.

And his success has triggered a ‘chain reaction’ with the growing company seeking to employ a second apprentice and a social media executive.

James said, “We were very lucky to find Jim. We had no idea it would turn out so well when we struggled to find someone for so long last year.

“He has fitted in brilliantly. It’s a pleasure to take him on permanently and get him started on a digital marketing apprenticeship.”

Rupert added, “After this success we’re looking for more ‘Jims’, particularly a customer services apprentice and a social media executive. 

“It’s a great way for us to grow as a business and create more employment locally too.”

Jim – a graduate with a degree in Film Production from Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) – was living in Fordingbridge with his parents for a spell during the pandemic when he gained the kickstart position.

He initially worked in customer service and product fulfilment for We are Chain and its sister business, an online pet shop called Dogs Dogs Dogs, before more involved in the digital and ecommerce sides of the business.

Jim, who is now 25 and living in Tisbury, near We are Chain’s offices, started at the business in June of last year when he was 24 – the very top of the kickstart age range. 

He said, “I like the job so much. 

“It’s developed steadily and has gone pretty darn well from the start. We’re in a small office so I have the chance to get involved in lots of different elements of the business.

“There’s great variety and there’s always lots to learn. It’s very enjoyable and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into the apprenticeship.”

Jim added, “To anyone considering an apprenticeship, I would say ‘go for it’.

“You get experience and a qualification while your employer gets a valuable member of staff who can help grow the business.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak launched the Kickstart youth employment scheme in September 2020 for young people aged 16 to 24. 

We are Chain is a specialist in e-commerce management which helps businesses promote and sell products and services online. 

From its modern offices in a barn conversion, it also runs a digital marketplace called Designed in Dorset, Dog, Dogs, Dogs and a new online retailer called The Ethical Trader.

The team use their own online business to test out e-commerce strategies for their clients.

Pictured above from left to right: We are Chain director Rupert Brown, apprentice Jim Smith, and We are Chain director James Chetwode