Creative agency collaborative forms to scale up career prospects for young people

12 August 2021 | 4 min read | News
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins

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A new initiative will soon be launched with the dual aim of improving the career prospects of young people looking to start a career in the creative industries upon completion of their studies, and enabling creative agencies themselves to future-proof their talent pipelines.

The South West Creative Collective (SWCC) is a collaborative partnership of public relations, advertising, design, marketing, publishing, film/TV, tech, and video/animation agencies all located in the counties of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Wiltshire. 

At time of writing, more than a dozen agencies have registered their interest.

The why

Conceived in response to the Pledge we committed to in 2020 to do all we can as a business to tackle youth unemployment, the SWCC will seek to address the career challenges facing young people because of a rapid depletion in the number of planned internship, work placement, apprenticeship, and graduate schemes provided by agencies. 

Something needs to be done. So, we’re doing something about it – along with a plethora of other excellent agencies who each share the same values and commitment to supporting the next generation of talent throughout the region.

The evidence 

In July, Clearly conducted market research to highlight the issue and gather real-time tangible data. 230 creative agencies took part in the survey.

It found that just 1 in 4 (27 per cent) of agencies will run such schemes at pre-pandemic levels, 36 per cent will run them but with fewer roles for young people than before March 2020, and 37 per cent have ruled out either resuming or introducing any programs.

This can have a significant impact on future talent pipelines. Any reduction in the number of placements being created by agencies means that fewer people are likely to enter the industry over the next few years. And that could reduce an agency’s ability to meet future client demand.

The format

Events will take place once a month and attended by college students, undergraduates and graduates who are studying and planning to enter one of the creative disciplines.

Universities and Colleges in Bath and Bristol have agreed to send their students to the events that will start in the upcoming academic year. More education institutions will follow in the coming weeks (summer hols, eh?!).

Attendees will be provided with unparalleled access to the region’s leading and most inspiring agency leaders and experts who will talk about projects or campaigns they have worked on or share their career journey to date with the next generation of creative talent.

Not all agencies can join the South West Creative Collective.

Eligibility is granted on the condition that each agency partner must commit to providing at least one weeks’ paid work experience every six months for a young person. This experience can then be added to that individual’s CV to boost the chances of them achieving job success upon completion of their studies.

The last word on this (for now!)

According to the Creative Industries Federation, our collective sector provides jobs for 1 in 8 people in this country and contributes more to the UK economy than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries… combined.

We cannot rely on the government to reverse the fall in the number of opportunities being created for young people. It’s down to us, and we have the power as a collective entity to change this for the better.

If you run a PR, advertising, design, marketing, publishing, film/TV, tech, and video/animation agency in the South West and want to positively impact young people’s careers and your own future talent pipeline, please do let me know.

Website goes live in a few weeks, and we’re thrilled to have a dozen agencies already on board already, along with the support of the region’s universities and colleges.

You in? Feel free to contact me via email anytime: