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Apprentices break into the creative sector

Breaking into creative industries can be a struggle. Many young people currently starting university will have years of study before getting a shot at applying for an interview.

Not for our two new juniors Jon and Jamie, who both successfully completed their apprenticeship placement in September as part of the IPA’s Creative Pioneers Challenge, and landed themselves full time roles in their chosen fields; right about the same time their friends were packing their bags for university.

Out of 524 applicants to the IPA scheme, Jon and Jamie were two of 60 successful apprentices to secure places with the top-level creative companies taking part in the scheme following a series of interviews. The Challenge was launched last year to ensure a rich vein of creative talent feeding through into the advertising, creative and digital media ecosystem in the UK.

At a ceremony at the IPA in London, successful Apprentices were awarded their certificates by Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.

Apprentices ‘earn while you learn’, gaining invaluable on the job training that it would be very difficult to pick up in any other environment.

Cutting edge learning

“If you’re learning on the job, or learning from people that are working in the industry, you’re learning the most up to date information,” says Jon (pictured left), junior developer at Bray Leino’s creative digital firm Yucca. “For instance in my role now, when a new brief comes in, sometimes we’ll set aside half a day to research the concepts we might want to apply to the project.”

It’s actually doing the job, picking up valuable skills and earning the trust of the professionals they’re working alongside, that both new employees say has been one of the best aspects of the experience.

“It’s something that you grow to expect and becomes quite natural after a while,” says Jon. “But there’s a certain thrill about looking at a website and being able to  say, ‘yep, I worked on that’.”

Jamie (pictured below), who’s just started as an account executive with one of Bray Leino’s agency teams,  has one word of advice for the class of 2013 apprentices just starting their placement. Enthusiasm.

“If you can show that you’re willing and enthusiastic, people will react to that. If you turn up looking like you’re not ready to make the effort, people won’t want to spend the time teaching you and showing you how things work.”

So it’s worth it then?

“I’ve managed to land myself in a really good position,” he adds. “Earning and learning is a convenient phrase, because that’s exactly what the apprenticeship is. You’re learning and getting valuable experience, while being paid; for me, I don’t think there would have been a better way to do it.”

 “I’ve gained a job from it,” says Jon. “I’ve gained all this experience, and I’ve met fantastic people. There’s no reason not to apply to a scheme like this.”

Our Head of Talent and Performance Julie Lewis says she's clear about the benefits of the scheme. “Supporting young people who are passionate about breaking into the creative sector is our responsibility as part of the industry,” she says. “Both Apprentices were adding tangible value to the business within the first six months of their placement, and now we have two highly promising junior employees.” 

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