Working with students adds creativity to agencies

Within the UK’s student population of more than two million, there is a cohort of hungry, energetic and teachable creatives. Tapping into this demographic can bring untold benefits to agencies, writes Dylan Bogg

Over the last six months, themission has been working closely with the SCA, engaging with students on an ongoing basis. The SCA is a social enterprise and offers an alternative route into careers in advertising and the creative industries by taking students from diverse backgrounds and offering them the chance to learn in a real-world working environment.

The world’s finest portfolio school

Based in Brixton, the SCA was established out of a desire to deliver something better than the traditional university model and be totally inclusive, hoping to improve the creative industry’s historically dreadful diversity statistics. More than 100 agencies are backing the vision and it is working! The SCA is building an incredible reputation for itself– this year winnings even include awards at the D&AD New Blood Awards.

So farthemission has provided mentoring and worked with students on live briefs from the group’s agencies. Sometimes students have received big portfolio briefs and been given two weeks to work on them. They have then presented their thoughts and ideas back in a two-minute video. On other occasions, they have been given 24 hours to work on a smaller brief. The students have worked on a huge breadth of projects for some of themission’s best-known brands from gin and cordial producers, online bingo outlets, cafes and computer processors. Time and again we have seen them approach the tasks in a totally different way. Their thinking adds a valuable dimension and ensures we have a diverse mix of people working on our projects.

Symbiotic relationship

The partnership with the SCA has definitely been a mutually beneficial experience. It has been really stimulating for our teams to see the students approach live briefs in different ways and the SCA students have experienced creative work in a wide range of sectors. Having students from SCA in our teams brings an even greater diversity and a welcome new dimension to the creative process.

If an agency is looking to draw students into the workplace, there are a number of ways to go about it. One approach is to contact a local college or university and offer work experience or internships for interested students. This is a long-established method. Students get to see the reality of working in an agency and get some much-coveted experience that looks great on their CV. They will begin to learn the basics of agency life and make useful contacts for when they begin looking for permanent work.

On the agency side, businesses are playing their part in fostering the future talent of the industry, while also benefiting from the skills and alternative ways of thinking that students so often bring. It also provides tried and tested graduates to join the team further down the line.

Our partnership is still in the early stages, but there are some exciting plans afoot. In the next few weeks, we will head to the SCA for their portfolio days and students will take us through their entire scope of work for the year. At this point, individuals will be matched to teams and potentially secure three-month work experience placements. It’s a huge opportunity for students to gain the full agency experience in locations beyond London, working within themission Group on incredible client briefs, inside and outside of traditional advertising.

We are passionate about our partnership with the SCA and believe that it is key to influencing and nurturing the next generation of creatives. We couldn’t be prouder of what the school is doing and already around 80% of SCA students secure a job at a top 100 agency within six months of completing the course. This is an incredible success rate and should mean it won’t be long before most of the UK’s best agencies have an SCA graduate in their ranks.

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The B2B Marketing UK Agencies Benchmarking Report 2019