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Inspiring the ‘yuccies’ into work

Posted: 24th June 2015

Chamber piece - YUCCIES (1)

In an age where technology moves as fast as fashion and even the naming of a generation (the hipster has died folks, here comes the “yuccie” or young urban creatives), how does our educational system keep up and ensure that students leave their course equipped to handle the vagaries of work – or even just get an interview?

This is where initiatives such as The Inspiring Talent Group (Advertising, Marketing & PR) come into play. The group, which met on the 8th June, was facilitated by Professor Joe Goldblatt from Queen Margaret University with an agenda that focussed upon the skills gap and future skill requirements for creative students to make them more work ready.
Professor Goldblatt skilfully allowed the business folk to share their experience of employing students whilst giving those in the educational sector the opportunity to share how students are supported during their course.
Interestingly, it was soft skills which were highlighted as missing by a number of business owners. Not sector specific it was agreed, but their importance in terms of being able to listen effectively to a client brief, pick up on smallest nuances from a client that may affect that brief and the ability to communicate verbally as well as in writing was noted as invaluable and often missing.
The big take-away here was that gaining customer service experience is a great way to improve soft skills whilst studying – and that all experience (with examples) should be highlighted at interview.Moving on to more tangible skills, it was noted that exceptional students use their creativity to make their Curriculum Vitae stand out. Submitting a Microsoft Word CV when applying for the role of Graphic Designer just doesn’t cut the mustard.The discussion continued to focus on showcasing talent by highlighting the fact that everyone can broadcast today. Students looking to excel in advertising, marketing and or public relations should have their own Brand Me portfolio.

Capturing domain names, building websites, blogging, using social media, taking images and creating videos are all ideal hobbies for students who tend to be cash poor / time rich (and have an array of gadgets). It’s the students who can pull out this showcase at interview who are deemed more desirable and work ready.
By consensus it was acknowledged that at the end of a degree course, it’s not about displaying a finished product, more about the ability to demonstrate what has been learnt, having an enthusiasm for the subject along with an ability to explain what you as the student have created (and why) that matters.
For students, understanding that employers in the creative sector are looking for this type of demonstrable portfolio is an exciting opportunity. For tutors, it brings home the practical learning outcomes from their courses. For business leaders within the creative sector, these steering groups offer the chance to think about our working knowledge and how this is imparted to students both on campus and during placements. A worthwhile exercise all round.

If you are interested in finding out further information on our inspiring talent group then e-mail helen Robertson

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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