Careers in the Creative Industry

Throughout October and November, DAN Leeds have supported an inspiring project by BBC Bitesize who took to the road to deliver a series of career sessions to secondary school children across the North.

This fantastic opportunity to inspire the next generation saw people from both Carat and iProspect Leeds come together with the BBC and other regional employers to help showcase the huge range of creative, advertising and media careers available right on their doorstep.

Each session had a ‘Question Time’ style setup with a panel made up of professionals from a wide range of backgrounds including, TV, Radio, Media, Advertising, Journalism, Gaming, PR, Music and Events. The brief to panel members was to bring to life the opportunities available within our industry, whilst also sharing personal stories of success and failure from their experiences of making their way into the world of work.

The Bitesize School Tour was a big success and we caught up with our volunteers, Georgia, Jake, Lee and Natasha to find out more about their experience.

Why did you choose to get involved in the BBC Bitesize Road Show Panel Event?

Lee Morris - Paid Social Associate Director: I volunteered to support the BBC Bitesize tour for a few reasons. Firstly, I wanted to get out of the office and strengthen my experience in communicating everything that we do here at DAN. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to give something back now I’ve been working in the industry for a number of years and when I saw my old school on the schedule, I couldn’t really say no!

Georgia Foster - AV Planning Executive: This was a great way to showcase how fantastic our business really is, and to share what my current job role entails with the students. There are so many job opportunities out there, and when I was in school, I only knew about a small percentage of these, so I felt it was really important to share my experiences and the transition between school and work.

Natasha Stead Account Executive: It seemed like a great opportunity share my experiences of education and the working world, and show students that there are many different paths to working within the media industry, and any route you take you pick up transferable skills along the way. 

Jake Harries Media Assistant: After supporting “The Code” earlier this year, a Dentsu Aegis Network owned program that introduces senior school children to the world of media and advertising, where I enjoyed discussing the world of media with the students, the opportunity sounded really exciting. While discussing my career journey with students that were just starting to think about what they want to do once they finish school, I could hopefully pass on my learnings and passion along the way.

How do you think the students benefitted?

Lee: I think students were intrigued in each of the roles of the panellists, as they were all areas they could relate to, which aside from my job in Advertising and Social Media, included TV with an Assistant Director from the set of a Soap and the General Manager of the local family attraction in Castleford. I think the students took a lot from seeing first hand that jobs in these areas DO exist on their doorstep in Yorkshire and that moving to London is not a requirement to explore these careers. There were plenty of questions and some really nice chats with the students at the end of each session including two year 8’s asking for all of our signatures. That’s the first autograph I can lay claim to having given out in my life!

Georgia: I think it was important that we shared it was ok not to know your life plan whilst you are in school. All of the panellists experiences of school and education were different, however, all now work in AV. I explained that I chose subjects that I enjoyed and that I knew I was going to work hard at, but the variety of subjects that my panel had studied showed, that there is not always a direct correlation between what you study and what your job ends up being and that’s ok!

Natasha: I feel as they were educated on the variety of jobs in the media industry and what path and skills you need in order to work in the industry. We all shared our experiences of when things didn’t quite go right to show the students that you have to persevere to get to where you want to be.

Jake: While, admittedly, the students were more interested in the careers around TV & Radio, I felt they did develop an understanding of what it’s like to work in the creative industries. I think it made them realise that there is more to ‘creativity’ than simply bringing stories to life by creating an advert or TV programme. Also for the students who didn’t perceive themselves as being ‘creative’, there are also many opportunities which they hadn’t considered in a Marketing Agency.

What did you get out of the Panel Event?

Lee: The day was well structured by the BBC Bitesize team where there were 3 sessions on the day speaking in front of years 7, 8 and 9. I was one of 3 panellists, all of which worked in the creative & media industries which was a great opportunity in itself to meet new people and to be part of something that was unlike other events. It was great to see some of my old teachers as well as bump into some old school friends that had since gone back to teach themselves, so I had a special affinity with the venue as well.

It was great to see a crowd so engaged, at such a young age, and especially in something that they may not necessarily know everything about through their usual studies at school. There was definitely a genuine interest from the students and teachers alike.

Georgia: I really enjoyed chatting with my panel, they were all from an AV background, but very different jobs. One worked on the set of a well-known Soap and the other running an organisation getting 18-24 year old’s into screen industries. We also came from different education backgrounds, which was really valuable for the students to hear about too.

Natasha: I really enjoyed the panel, I was surprised at how engaged the students were, asking questions about what subjects we studied and how we got our jobs. Not only was it lovely to work with young people and inspire them to become the next generation of media professionals, but the experience also helped me to continue to work on my presentation skills.

Jake: It was great talking about some of the clients/campaigns I have worked on and how I ended up working at Dentsu Aegis.

Tips for entry-level talent wanting to get into the world of media and marketing.

Lee: I think we definitely struck a chord with the students and everyone benefitted from this opportunity including ourselves and the teachers. My main piece of advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry is to know your numbers and have the drive to succeed. You'll learn the rest along the way...

Georgia: On our panel we discussed a lot about work experience and how this has helped us understand what we do and do not like. Have a look around on LinkedIn or Google to see what jobs are out there that excite or interest you and contact the right people!

Natasha: My main piece of advice to the students is to get as much experience as you can in as many things as you can because it will all help somewhere down the line. Remember it is all about those transferable skills.

Jake: Don’t feel like to have to pursue subjects that are specifically related to Media & Marketing. It is an industry of diversity, full of people from different backgrounds and specialisms, from which the core skills can be obtained through lots of different subjects/classes. Everyone says it a lot, but it is all about background knowledge and those transferable skills. Also, don’t be afraid of asking questions or reaching out to an agency for some work experience if you feel it would benefit you.