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Realise aims to 'Up-Grade' students' knowledge of inner workings of creative agencies

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

July 15, 2011 | 4 min read

Edinburgh and London digital agency Realise has begun a graduate student work experience course with a difference, offering 10 students the chance to compete with one another in teams, learn the inner workings of a digital agency, and potentially win an iPad2 while doing so.

The agency has launched 'Up-Grade', having approached Napier University to offer the chance to attend specially organised lectures in order to answer mock-up but realistic briefs that they have been assigned.

Dave Ward, deputy creative director for Realise, explains that students entering a creative agency for the first time mainly have no preconceived understanding of how commercial the environment they are entering into actually is.

“When graduate students come in to see us they arrive with passion and hunger, a glint in their eye. On leaving university they have new found ability, excited about putting it into action. The world is theirs to conquer, but often they are missing one core skill, one they may not even know they lack. The ability to work as part of a large digital team,” says Ward.

“They may have worked with other classmates on projects, perhaps even those from other courses. None of that can prepare them for the pace, diversity, drive and craft of a top digital agency.”

Napier University students in their third and final year in either creative or technical courses have come on board – with a student with a back in one, being partnered with one from another in order to ensure that there is both a creative mind and a technological mind in order that each team has both skillsets.

The first night saw each team take on a fictitious brief with a fictitious budget of £50,000 to spend, which would be developed over the six weeks, where they would meet with people from different roles that make up a project team to learn what each member does and how to approach and work with them.

Speakers include Chris Rourke from Uservision, Penny Barr from Lloyds Banking Group and Ian Mackenzie from Channel 4, as well as employees from within the agency themselves discussing their roles.

Over the course of the process the students will mould the brief and use the lessons they learn for the final evening when they present their idea and work to the agency through a pitch.

The pitch will include a 30 minute presentation and a 10 minute question and answer session for each team.

In order to make the pitch competitive, the agency offered the winning pair an iPad 2 each.

Ward also promised: “One thing we can guarantee is that each student will walk away with a

new level of understanding. Our hope is that one day they will walk into an agency for an interview with the same glint in their eye, only this time bolstered by a confident smile and the ability to jump right in.”

The agency is funding the course entirely on its own, and has admitted that it may expand to other Universities which have already expressed an interest in their students participating, while it is also hoped that it will run as an annual event.

“We wanted to keep the course lean for its first year,” explained Ward as to why only Napier University was approached.

The winning team will be announced in August.

Realise User Vision Channel 4

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