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Yorkshire focus: Are agencies forming strong relationships with local universities and colleges to ensure graduates are prepared for agency life?

As part of The Drum’s series of UK regional reviews, we caught up with those working across Yorkshire’s creative marketing industries- Elmwood, Strawberry, Turn Key and INK Digital Agency – to find out how Yorkshire agencies work with local universities and colleges and to uncover if students are being suitably prepared for life in the workplace.

Are there strong relationships between agencies and universities and colleges in the region, and are they adequately preparing graduates for the workplace?

Simon Preece, group client services director, Elmwood

Courses need to achieve a good balance, giving students enough width to explore themselves creatively while providing focus to help them form a clear idea of how they want to progress in the industry. The good courses are the ones that really value close links with industry – getting practicing designers in to talk and offer their insight is invaluable. More are starting to do this, but still not all. At Elmwood we assign designers to a university to work with. By encouraging students to think ahead earlier, they can get the most from their course to help prepare them for life after graduation. The talent is definitely there.

James Greenwood, digital director, Strawberry

We work really closely with the universities and colleges, and the simple answer is more needs to be done. Naturally, educational establishments can’t be as up to date as we have to be in the field, but I feel that they could do more. Sometimes the focus on course work and passing exams does the students a disservice. Once we get them here we have to start with their training again, to a certain extent.

Nik Entwistle, MD, Turn Key

We have an extremely close relationship with the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan. As a former Leeds Met student, I founded Turn Key at the age of 22 after graduating – so investing in young talent is really close to my heart. We take on a number of placement students each year across every department, allowing them to really expand their skillset and knowledge of the creative industry. We have been very lucky to welcome some extremely talented, forward-thinking students who have embraced their university courses and the chance to put their learnings into practice.

Tony Pye, head of digital development, INK Digital Agency

We have strong relationships with a number of HEI’s in the region and are proud to take an active role in offering Work Placements to some of Yorkshires young creative. Because our industry moves so quickly and we’re proud to be early adopters of new technology, it does mean from a development perspective Universities will find it a little difficult to keep up with Business.

This question was asked as part of a wider feature on Yorkshire in the 23 November issue of The Drum.

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