Creative Karyn Feehan credits Re-Gen Apprenticeship with career development

Karyn Feehan joined Newry based recycling company Re-Gen Waste in 2022 as a Digital Marketing Assistant and, in that short space of time, she has been involved in a variety of exciting projects and has been actively encouraged to develop her skills.

A Degree in Music and lifelong interest in the artform reveals Karyn’s creative nature. She now expertly applies her creativity on a daily basis whether it be designing graphics or brainstorming the latest TikTok trend. Her apprenticeship with Re-Gen not only helped her to hone her existing skills but it encouraged her to develop new ones too – now a much more confident public speaker – she has represented the company at several conferences and industry events.

No stranger to graphic design or marketing – having run her own business in partnership with her sister – Karyn brings plenty to the Re-Gen table. She describes it as a ‘brilliant job’ and would wholeheartedly encourage interested parties to apply for the Apprenticeship Programme.

What is your role in the company and what does a typical day entail?

I am a Digital Marketing Assistant at Re-Gen Waste and I joined the company in August 2022. A typical day includes designing posters and advertisements to accompany news articles, developing PowerPoint presentations, and creating content to post on social media platforms.

I also contribute to our social media plan and take images of staff as the directors (Joseph, Colin and Aidan Doherty) like to recognise the achievements, anniversaries and birthdays of their employees.

We have numerous visitors to the site and I’ve photographed many of them with the directors and senior staff. Recently I have been doing a lot of videography. I developed the Re-Gen Waste TikTok platform where I was tasked with coming up with different ideas for social media campaigns as we want to communicate with younger audiences about apprenticeships, recycling materials, and our innovation and investments. Our TikTok page has been performing very well with one of the apprentice’s videos attracting 435,000 views.

What was your route into the company?

Although I have a degree in Music, I decided to take a different route and I am now studying a Higher Level Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing, Advertising and Communications with Southern Regional College in Newry. I study one day a week in the SRC and work the other four days. Re-Gen is currently recruiting apprentices for start dates in August and September.

How long have you been involved in this type of work?

I have had my own graphic design company in partnership with my sister for four years. Being creative and coming up with new ideas is really enjoyable, so I am delighted to be doing this type of work every day.

Where did you work before this?

Before starting with Re-Gen, I worked in Newry Omniplex for six years and worked my way up to the position of Duty Manager. I love films so this was a great place for me to work.

What were your favourite subjects at school and why?

My favourite subjects at school were Music and ICT. Music meant that I got to sing, play the piano and compose new pieces of music for seven years, and I enjoyed ICT as I found solutions, improved work flows, and created a website. My least favourite subjects were Health and Social Care, Chemistry and Religion.

Did you go on to university or further education and what did you study?

I studied a degree in Commercial Modern Music in TU Dublin for four years. I travelled every day on the Enterprise so I know the railway line really well; it was just too expensive to live in Dublin.

Did you always have this career in mind?

Although I always wanted to get connected to music, I felt that graphic design and marketing were always going to be more sustainable in the long term.

What do you enjoy about it?

I enjoy being given a piece of writing and asked to ‘jazz it up’. I am grateful to be given many opportunities to design and create new things every day! Re-Gen has put a lot of trust in me to
contribute to making its social media platforms look professional and consistent. With the help of my mentor, I produce great films, develop materials, and draft messages that build our reputation and make us stand out as a company.

I’m fortunate to work in an extremely busy and varied environment. I’m involved with promoting the recycling processes, the fleet of lorries and trailers, business development, and Re-Gen Robotics which is a robotic tank cleaning company. It’s great to attend the weekly meetings that our Commercial Director Celine Grant chairs – we have experienced, creative staff around the table and I’ve learnt a lot from my colleagues. I’ve represented Re-Gen at charity events, a Women In Business conference, and a political party’s annual conference. There is also a fun-packed social calendar with pizza lunches, ice cream days, and a trip to St George’s Market in Belfast.

What are the main skills required for it?

I believe the main skills for a job in digital marketing are patience, teamwork, passion, communication skills and problem solving. I’m fortunate that I’m one of 11 apprentices in the Re-
Gen Academy: the company is dedicated to developing apprentices and there is a great training programme. I’ve been able to develop my public speaking skills through our Apprentice Day and making a presentation to staff on charitable donations during 2022. I’m looking forward to getting involved with the new “Speak Up!” programme.

What would your advice be to anyone thinking of it as a career?

If you enjoy being creative and coming up with new, fresh ideas then this is a brilliant job. I love working with people and I get the chance to work with small groups and in large teams.

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?

I could hold new-born babies all day so I would have been interested in midwifery. The alternative would be to organise a worldwide series of concerts where I would sing on stage every night… and visit as many countries as possible as I love travelling.

How do you relax when you’re not working?

I like to listen to music when I’m not working. I swim and play tennis at Newry Leisure Centre. I also spend time with friends and family, and that often includes watching films, documentaries, and biographies.

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