The secret to living is giving

For the past 3 years, I have proudly been a Mentor to the HND Visual Communication course at Edinburgh College, based at the Granton Campus. The course is not-only the proud owner of a plethora of educational awards for it’s groundbreaking Mentoring Programme but it has helped produced many rising creative talents who have collected numerous D&AD, YCN, Marketing Society and MPA Rose Awards, to name a few. What sets the course apart from others of its kind is the aforementioned Mentoring Programme. The course has partnered with a select group of agencies to work closely with the students. This not-only allows the students to work collaboratively with designers, art directors, copywriters and everyone in between to help craft their skill-set, but it is an opportunity for the agencies interact with the future of our industry and give something back – offering opportunities to talk to the students about the industry and offer work experience placements to help them get their foot in the door.

Every semester, the course takes part in the One Week Project. Mixing both 1st and 2nd year students into different teams and assigning them an agency to help direct them. This semester, Realise happily mentored a team for the Innis & Gunn pitch (unfortunately the brief is still confidential). Over the course of 10 days, the creative team met with Team Realise (pictured above: Emily Hubbard, Rhys McGeary, Jordan Finn, Rumana Sayed, Stephanie Dalzell and Alasdair Muir) to help analyse the brief, brainstorm ideas and develop and articulate those into a concise presentation with a strong narrative. We also encouraged the students to present their work regularly, providing us with an opportunity to provide feedback and pointers on how best to present and sell their ideas. This kind of project benefits both parties. The students are immersed in an environment where there is no time for procrastination, and quick decision-making is a must, while Realise gets to see the inspiring teamwork, sharing of knowledge and development of ideas happening first-hand.

Thursday 26th March was pitch day. Team Realise were going up against their peers in 5 different teams. A chance for them to truly experience a pitch environment. The nervous dry mouths, quivering lips and shaking legs helped pass the waiting of their 10:30am time-slot with the client...

After hours of much deliberation of the client passed, re-running through the ideas of each team, the result was in…Team Realise won! It was a tight call, but Team Realise managed to pip the win. Not only that, but they were positively remarked for their incredibly professional, strongly brand-led and well-paced presentation; simple promotional and guerrilla campaign ideas and always connected their presentation back to the brief.

Here at Realise, we were like proud parents watching our kids win Sports Day, cheering them on and wiping our teary eyes. The One Week project is just one example of how valuable these experiences are to educational programmes and the agencies. This is something that Helena Good and the team at Edinburgh College are trying to grow and push as far as possible, and doing a damn good job at doing it too!

If you are working for a creative agency or business and you find yourself reading this, I urge you to get in touch with Helena and get involved with the mentoring programme. Not only do you see the profound effect you are having on these future creatives, but the you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the profound effect it has on you.

Photography courtesy of Derek Anderson ©