In Thoughts

The Student – Agency Gap

As Creative Director of our very small agency Supremo I’m always looking for extra resource in the form of students. I’m not ashamed to say it, why should I? Small businesses & student placements go hand in hand. It works for everybody when done correctly. I’m talking about paid placements by the way (that’s another topic for another day).

What drives me on is when you put the scouting time in and you find that golden one, when you can see he/she has what it takes to make it, even if they don’t know it. It makes me wonder how many others are about but just don’t have the loudmouth self-promotion skills to make themselves stand out from the crowd.

The talent is out there though, usually self-taught too. My best find is currently sunning it up in San Fran working for *that* company. Years earlier he was just sitting pretty on a web development course at Man Met looking for placements.

I’ve got two niggles with the current setup.

1. Courses should be a factory conveyer belt, delivering graduates that are ready and able to jump into a junior role at company’s like Supremo.
2. Courses should have an online portal with student portfolios that are easily available for companies that can offer placements and jobs.

So whats the solution?

I believe that multimedia and digital should be delivered more intensely at younger ages. I’ve seen babies knowing how to unlock an Ipad and play games but I’m yet to see major digital encouragement in schools. It only starts to really get going in high school. We need to give teenagers a bigger head start to develop skills before they hit college. The next bit is the more controversial bit. I believe that Universities should make it harder to get on the course. These kids are wasting five figure sums on 3 year courses that isn’t going to deliver a job at the end. I honestly believe the tutors can tell on day 1 if these kids will make it or not. Thats unfair. I believe that the universities are financially motivated, aiming at numbers on the course, rather than potential.

I also think that these courses should follow the Hyper Island method of creating mini-teams with different disciplines and putting students into teams. Acting like mini-agencies. Project Managers, Developers, Illustrators, Photographers, Designers all working together. Like Agencies. Now, I’d need to do further research and I’m sure a few are BUT we are way way behind other countries with this kind of development.

I’ve definitely seen an increase in agency ready graduates in the last 10 years but we are still lagging.

This is something I’m really passionate about and have been ranting on about it to people that will listen for years. In fact, the business name “Creative Supremo” first originated from a jobs board I created to post placements opportunities for students 10 years ago when I was working for a digital agency in Manchester. I really think there is a space for a tool that helps connects Studios & student, watch this space.

If your a student and looking to get into studio’s for some real world real client work experience then please send me an email at with a link to your portfolio.

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