The Next Generation – Inspiring Interns

Kay Cochrane • 25th Jun 2015

And they are talented to boot. Year on year as we’ve visited degree shows across the country, we’ve seen work improve across the board, and evidence of vocational skills in place too. Standards are high, inspiration is evident, and we’re delighted to throw our hat in and get involved.

I remember the period when I was on the hunt for my first job. It was daunting, stressful and by no means easy. The competition is so high but it’s a genuinely magical time when classmates succeed. The congratulations and pats-on-backs are heartfelt and it’s great to know you belong to a group of creatives who are achieving and sometimes surpassing their own expectations of themselves.

The success rates of placements, stories of full time post-placement jobs and finding their next creative star from a placement validate the need for agencies to think seriously about placements.  Return on investment is high, and effort is often well rewarded

The first year after graduating is an exciting time, you are still buzzing from successfully bagging a few placements, then maybe landing yourself a few freelance gigs for friends; putting to use a new found confidence, set of skills and don’t forget the all-important industry jargon; from your time in a studio. Then the learning curve is steep. Whether you’ve came from a college or university career, the pace quickens, there are new challenges and a vast array of things you don’t know (and you might never know) but you wouldn’t even have had the chance to see what it’s all about without someone giving you a chance.  When you’re studying you have a lot of time to think and give yourself all to little time to ‘do’.  In an agency you think on your feet and ‘do’ a lot, fast!

I’ve found working with students a much more rewarding activity than I had anticipated. At first, as with everyone, your charges are shy at coming forward with ideas or comments; even with repeatedly pointing out that “there’s no such thing as a bad idea”, but once they relax the ideas start to flow. I find interns think without boundaries, not yet inhibited with concerns about ‘what the client will like’. Even considering my early career, pace of thinking is increased by the reality of timescales, projects and budgets. My students have taught me about remembering to take even a few moments to think more broadly beyond the brief, even if that means taking your imagination on a lunch time wander and wonder! You can always bring it back, rein it in and get rid of any wild cards. Our interns  reminded me to ask “What if?”

Students spend a lot more time looking at peer group creative work. This wealth of recent creative wonders inspires fresh thinking. Finding daily sources of inspiration, discovering new creative ideas or little techniques that make big differences no longer takes up a considerable slice of your working week. Students learn from external sources constantly and I have found that they always have something new to share.

Sure, working with interns is time consuming, and sometimes when the team are up against deadlines, interns need to patiently wait until the work has been submitted before you can support them again.  They might not yet know how to work in the agency’s way, but we find that the time investment in working with interns pays creative dividends, and doesn’t half fill the recruitment pipeline!

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