Home News Life’s a beach for apprentice Georgia Alston and her award-winning artisan ice cream parlour

Life’s a beach for apprentice Georgia Alston and her award-winning artisan ice cream parlour

The University of Chichester is blazing a trail for degree apprenticeships in the UK – with more than 100 students across ten programmes, it is one of the fastest-growing providers in the country. Some of our students tell their stories for National Apprenticeship Week.


AWARD-WINNING entrepreneur Georgia Alston has vowed to take her artisan ice cream business into parlours nationwide – but only after she finishes her degree apprenticeship.

The 27-year-old apprentice oversees family-run company Pinks Vintage with her mother, while studying for a day each week at the University of Chichester.

Such has been the impact of her degree on the business that they have moved from their Bognor Regis home to their first parlour – but it was only a tragic encounter that compelled Georgia to join.

“I never really had any interest in ice cream,” she says. “I was studying to become a radio journalist at university until my mum broke her leg just before the summer. She asked me to step in and drive the van during our busiest months – and then I fell in love with the business.”

Georgia, studying for a Chartered Manager degree apprenticeship, admits that dropping out of journalism school to sell ice creams raised a few eyebrows, but her decision has since been vindicated with the rapid development of the frozen-dessert company.

“My mum made me write a 24-page business plan and present it to her and my dad in a Dragons Den-style pitch before I could join,” said Georgia. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.”


Georgia’s striking impact earnt her ice cream’s rising-star award

Since starting her apprenticeship, Georgia has helped Pinks Vintage grow from just one ice cream van to two, and a retro tricycle, which they take to 250 weddings each year across the UK, along with parties and events – including those hosted by celebrities Kate Winslet and Keith Richards.

Just two years into the Chartered Manager course, she said she is already reaping the benefits of the programme, which has helped her understand the principles of management to develop her leadership skills.

The University’s venture into degree apprenticeships – nearly six years ago – has proven popular with businesses and employees alike. There are nearly 100 students undertaking degrees in business, digital, engineering, social work, and teaching, alongside the Chartered Manager course.

“I try to bring everything I learn in class into practice,” say Georgia. “Last week we were studying project management and I literally began implementing what I learnt the very next day.”

Georgia’s striking impact on her business hasn’t gone unnoticed in the industry. She scooped the famed Guido Morelli ‘rising star’ accolade for overseeing Pinks’ rapid growth – and in doing so become its first female recipient.

“It was quite a shock to receive the award,” she said, “particularly as the ice cream industry is quite a male-dominated sector. I want to build on this success with the knowledge learnt on my degree to launch Pinks Vintage Ice Cream across the UK – so keep an eye out for us.”


How her seafront parlour is helping long-term unemployed back into work

Georgia and her mother are now opening their first ice cream parlour on Bognor Regis seafront, where they will also make their own ice cream. “This isn’t just about expanding the business,” says Georgia, “I’m invested in helping people.

“We’ll be opening six part-time positions for people who are long-term unemployed to help them back into a job – by reintroducing them to working life slowly. The more ice creams we sell, the more parlours we can open, and the more jobs we can create.”

Despite her bursting workload, squeezed between University study, Georgina says she will continue to make time for her passion – behind the window of her van selling ice creams on the seafront. She adds: “I’ve fallen in love with the business and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”


Find out more

There’s more about Georgia and Pinks Vintage Ice Cream at www.pinks-vintage-icecream.co.uk.

Details of the Chartered Manager degree apprentice at the University of Chichester are available at www.chi.ac.uk/apprenticeships.

Find out more about National Apprenticeship Week at www.Twitter.comApprenticeships.

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