I grew up in a small Cornish market town.
At school the only subjects I enjoyed (and was any good at) were the creative ones.
Y’kno the subjects other kids did for ‘fun’ or to avoid written exams.
Well art was my thing.
And I had no idea what kind of job it would get me.
To be honest, I don’t think my school did either.
If anything, it seemed like creative jobs didn’t exist… unless you wanted to be an artist or the next Mrs Schooling (my art teacher) …
…which I did not, (sorry Miss).
one day, whilst watching Friends.
Season 9, episode 11 to be exact – thanks google.
I was introduced to a world beyond artist, or art teacher.
Chandler Bing had given up his job in whatever he did (who knows) to give copywriting a go.
Cheese – it’s milk that you chew.
A grape, because who can get a watermelon in your mouth.
Became my first real-ish insight into the ad-world.
Yeah, I’d seen ads on TV but the idea of advertising being one of those real-life job things – well, this was a first.
A quick google of ‘advertising degree courses’ and fast forward 4 years I’m graduating with a 2:1 in Advertising and Brand Communication from UCA, Farnham.
Fast forward another 8 years and I’m now a copywriter at a global advertising agency.
I can’t help thinking what if 16 year-old-me hated Friends? – I mean, some people do…
…some very strange people
And what about those 16-year-olds now – they’re not watching Friends.
So how are they meant to find out about the creative industry?
Yeah, we’re spending a lot of time visiting universities, myself included.
We’re talking to students who have already decided advertising is for them – great.
But no one is talking to school kids.
The ones that have absolutely no idea what they want to do.
Who have no idea of the possibilities that exist within the creative industry.
And if they are, I can’t imagine they’re talking to people like 16-year-old-me 254 miles away from London, in a town where creativity is seen as a hobby, not a career.
There’s a lot of talk right now about diversity, and rightly so.
Our industry is still dominated by white, privileged males. Although, I must caveat my art director falls into that category, and he’s f**king brilliant, so this isn’t a man hating exercise at all.
How are we meant to create change if we’re still hiring from the same places.
And talking to the same people.
Even the universities we’re visiting are usually the same ones within an hour train journey outside of London.
Why aren’t we casting the net further?
We should be talking to other courses, not just advertising ones.
We should be visiting schools and colleges, and not just ones near our office.
This year we, the YCC, have made it our mission to step outside the bubble that is London and get on the road to speak to students across the country about how incredible the creative industry is, and the opportunities that exist within it.
So far, this year we’ve spoken at universities in Leeds, Lincoln, & Essex.
We’re starting up conversations with schools, colleges and more universities outside of London.
And I’ll be heading back to my old art college in Plymouth and my secondary school in Cornwall, in hope to inspire someone like 16-year-old-me.
Because not everyone’s a Friends fan.