Earlier this year, the Different Narrative team introduced a new work experience programme aimed at nurturing the best creative talent in the North East. Here, our CEO, Kieron Goldsborough delves into the success of the Different Narrative Academy and why engaging with the next generation is so important.
It feels like many moons ago now, but I can still remember that feeling of sheer joy, excitement and hope when walking off the stage with a scroll in my hand at the end of my Degree Graduation. Sadly, memories of the night out that followed are long since gone!
However, those feelings were pretty short lived (once I’d got over the hangover) and replaced with terror, when the stark realisation of the near impossible task of getting a job in the creative industry dawned on me.
I was one of tens of thousands of graduates now vying for roles at precious few agencies across the land. After hundreds of letters (yes this was pre-email and that make me feel old) I was lucky enough to get a job (and I mean lucky) and the rest, as they say, is history.
Despite all the time that has elapsed since then, the scale of my unpreparedness for the working world at the end of my degree makes me feel ill. I had no idea what designers actually did, what an agency did, or how they talked and most of all, how on earth to get a job with one. So, all these years later the team here at Different Narrative and I wanted to try and do something to help students so they are better prepared for what happens once they have left the stage with scroll in hand.
That’s where DNA comes in, it’s our Different Narrative Academy (can you see what we did there?!). ‘Committed to a change for good’ is at the heart of our business and drives all that we do, so we wanted DNA to be one of those changes for good, to nurture the next generation of creative talent in the North East and retain it here. The Academy is a creative industry training programme, two weeks for anyone (student, graduate, unemployed or anyone looking for change) who wants to know what we do, how it works and how to get involved.
We held a competitive application process to find our ‘Class of 2022’ (including asking how they would sell us a half-eaten cheese sandwich!). After sifting through all the applications, we held a series of interviews which resulted in Natalia, Sophie, Jess and Nick becoming our first ever DNA cohort.
Their two weeks with us included a mix of presentations from our team, explaining what we do, plus all the various roles within the agency – as well as shadowing our team to see how they worked day-to-day. There was of course a host of briefs for the cohort to get their teeth stuck into, from quick fire campaign ideas to a two-week project that culminated in them presenting their ideas to Seven Stories.
The whole DNA process was a great success, for the cohort (who left with a stronger understanding of our industry), for our team involved, the business, and me personally – we’re already gearing up for a bigger and even better programme next year.
Elsewhere, we’re excited to welcome a group of students from St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy in early November as part of the Institute of Practitioners of Advertising industry day, Advertising Unlocked. The open day sees advertising and media agencies across the UK open their doors to the next generation, revealing how campaigns are made and who is involved at every stage of this process, from meme managers to web engineers.
The Advertising Unlocked programme aims to introduce new and potentially unconsidered career options to school and college leavers, and to provide agencies with an audience of fresh, diverse talent.
Trying to help the next generation of talent is something I’m very passionate about and I feel it should work both ways. If we invest time and effort to try and make sure anyone (in any industry) worrying about what happens when they step off that stage feels empowered and excited instead of ill, that can’t be a bad thing can it?
Now I’m off to eat all of these half-eaten cheese sandwiches I seem to have bought!