The skills to perform Under Pressure – WEA – The Irish News



Best Employee Development Programme – SME – winner Clearbox. Pictured are Orlagh O’Neill (from award sponsor Carson McDowell) with Alex Symington and Ella Magee of Clearbox

The skills to perform Under Pressure

Clearbox’s inclusive environment offers unrivalled cultural experiences and training programmes for its team. It believes that “happy people create good work”, which helps Clearbox attract brands like Amazon and Oatly.

Based in the heart of Belfast, Clearbox is a decade-old innovative company specialising in PR, digital and social media, and corporate social responsibility. This 13-strong team work in Northern Ireland, Ireland, mainland UK and in central Europe.

Its mission is to create a great place to work, while recruiting and training the best young talent. Clearbox wants to help stop the talent drain to different countries and believes if it focuses on its team, everything else will fall into place.

Clearbox provides training opportunities for its team to develop inside and outside work, focused heavily on building confidence and challenging societal stereotypes. Two hurdles they are particularly keen to remove are centred on gender and socioeconomic equality.

Clearbox has a passion for helping young talent develop, and boasts a truly unique benefits package that helps them to achieve that.

Its apprenticeship programme is called Absolute Beginners.

Named after a David Bowie song, it aims to

tackle “an elitist problem in PR”. And that is, “if you don’t have a degree, you can’t work in PR”.

The programme is exclusively for people who didn’t, or couldn’t, go to university. It is a year-long training programme offering a mix of practical and theoretical learning, combining on-the-job training and courses from industry bodies and leading PR figures

They added: “The training and development of young people has ensured our agency has grown over the last ten years, but our refocus on training in the last 18 months is now paying dividends financially.”

Clearbox meanwhile believes its culture, driven for and by its team, sets them apart from other companies in its field.

In 2021, Clearbox even introduced an unlimited holiday policy, meaning its team can book leave as and when it suits, without a limit on days off.

“This company’s inclusive environment offers unrivalled cultural experiences & training programmes for its team. It believes happy people create good work, which helps it attract brands like Amazon & Oatly.”

In their submission, Clearbox stated: “Unlimited holidays has increased our team’s happiness but most importantly, has virtually killed sick leave. Sick leave at Clearbox is down by more than 85 per cent since we introduced unlimited leave.”

Staff are also encouraged to work from abroad for one week during the year and can enjoy Custom-built training programmes to build on their skillset and development.

In 2022, Clearbox invested almost £40,000 in external training for its team, an average of more than £5,500 per person.