We believe that work experience is one of the best things young people can do to develop their skills, showcase their talent and explore different routes within an industry. It’s also a great way for businesses to scout future talent and bring fresh ideas into the office for a week or so.
But don’t just take our word for it, hear from six of our Digipigz who rave about their experiences, all very different but all very beneficial.
“I have done work experience at several places since I turned 13 and each has helped me to find what I wanted to do – mainly by highlighting what I didn’t want to do! Firstly I worked at a preschool – utter nightmare for me, but if you can talk to toddlers, you can talk to anyone. Honestly they have no filter! Secondly I was working in retail mainly customer services and again, taking my people skills up another notch with handfuls of angry customers and a lot of defusing situations. Work experience in retail also highlighted how much I love organizing things. I also did work experience in catering, fun, taught me a lot about working under-pressure, to a deadline but there was still something missing, and really the next step industry wise was either going to be travel or digital – as I get travel sickness I opted for trying out digital first. I tried product design, graphic design, media studies and finally marketing and then I was comfortable. I’ve found somewhere that I can comfortably fit all of my skills into one job role but none of this would have happened if I didn’t fail at finding my perfect job roles so many times before hand.”
“I recently completed two work experience placements in the media industry. I was going to be living at home, in Somerset, over the summer where there were practically no large media corporations. So I decided to take it upon myself to seek out companies that would benefit from digital content made for them to help build their brand. I found and spoke to two companies in the end: The Rolling Cocktail Company & Gert Lush Events Company. I spent two weeks working with each company. Both of these are very similar in that they are local businesses that provide catering/bar services. The first company, Rolling Cocktail, already had a website and a Facebook page that was being used however the Facebook page was lacking media rich content. After liaising with the business owner, I decided I would make some Cocktail ‘How To’ videos that would give the customers more of an insight into the drinks they sell. I planned, shot and edited a total of four videos completely by myself for this company. Whilst extremely nervous to do this by myself, the creative control that I had was incredible, and the responsibility of making decisions was incredibly gratifying. I also did some photography work for this client and I made some animated digital posters. Working with a small up and coming business as appose to a large media company meant that I was able to get hands on experience and I was able to create a lot of strong content that will extremely benefit my portfolio.
The second company, Gert Lush Events Company, was a start-up Events Company. This digital brand was virtually non-existent, so for this client I had a photography shoot day to create a lot of content. I then made them a website, using WordPress, I created and managed their Instagram and Facebook and posted regular content to build their brand. This client trusted me to post whatever I wanted on their social media and had the power over the design of the website. This trust was extremely gratifying and I felt like my creative decisions were being truly respected.
To conclude, I’m really glad that I sought out these opportunities and really applied myself to the work because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m glad I was able to work with small companies where I was able to get hands on experience over working for large corporations where I would have only been running/researching. It’s given me a promising insight into working freelance and creating digital content.”
“I think work experience is really important to actually see what the working place is like and if it is really for you. I think when you are in education you get given one perception of what that job role may be but it changes from one workplace to another. I’ve had an instance where I went for a job because that’s what my degree was but actually it really wasn’t for me and I soon learnt that there are so many other job roles in the same sector that can be more suited to what I mostly enjoy from what I studied.”
“A few weeks ago, I finished a five-week internship at local digital agency 3 SIDED CUBE. I found the whole experience amazingly useful, as I have now formed a clearer idea of what I want to do when this college year is over, and also I have gained the transferable skills I feel will benefit me in the wider world, such as communication and planning. I have also gained the experience within my chosen industry, and even more specifically in my dream job, which is a very rare thing for someone of my age to already have done. Doing this internship specifically at this time in my life, right before I have to make the ‘What Next?’ decision, has helped me massively, as I have been able to hear the opinions of people already in the industry about what I should do, and what they feel is more beneficial going into the digital industry, an insight I have only heard previously from within the classroom.”
“I am so happy that I chose to do a placement year. Without it, I wouldn’t have gained the valuable experience needed to boost my employability. I’ve learnt what it’s like to be surrounded by a team of motivated individuals and understand how my work no longer benefits only myself, but an entire business.
I’ve also been able to put my theory into practice and really get to grips with what goes on in the Marketing and PR industry behind the scenes. For example, I had no idea how much work and planning really goes into launching a new Marketing campaign: A brainstorming session, coming up with the initial idea, crafting a social media plan and PR list, sending off what seems like endless drafts for approval, launching the idea across multiple channels – and everything in between. Did I think the process was this detailed prior to my placement year? Honestly, no I didn’t.
After three work experience roles in the space of a year, I now feel confident that the Marketing and PR industry is the place for me. And the best part is, I’m going to graduate university with a whole range of new skills to help me succeed in my future career.”
“When I made the decision to attend university, I knew it was going to be vital to undertake a placement year, even then in 2014 gaining experience was all anybody seemed to talk about. Regardless of having my degree, I needed something else to help me stand out from the other people who would inevitably be applying for the same jobs as me.
Fast forward to 2017, it was time for me to begin my placement with Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in their corporate and events team. I had the most amazing year and learnt so many new things not only within the event sector but also about myself.
For me, placement has been an invaluable experience that has given me many firsts; I attended my first professional interview, received my first rejection (and a few more after that) and learnt how irritating it can be commuting during rush hour! Aside from the day to day tasks, I was able to network with business professionals from lots of different sectors and really get to grips with the business world. After completing my placement, I was able to secure a part time marketing role that I will undertake while completing my studies – something I don’t think would have been possible without the experience I gained through my time with Julia’s House. I am now going back to my final year of studies with a completely different outlook and I can apply real life knowledge to what I will be learning.”
If your business could offer our Digipigz a work experience placement, please do get in touch. Equally, if you are a young person seeking work experience opportunities, drop us a line and we can discuss how the Digipigz scheme could help you find that.
One of our key goals for Digipigz is that it services clients and The Litter equally. In order to achieve this, one of the things we are keen to do, is host exclusive workshops for our incredible young people.
After our official launch back in July, where they met a sample of our Litter, Joe & Ellen from Inspire Professional Services met with us to discuss how they could give back. They wanted to do something that would benefit the talented individuals they met that evening.
We agreed that often, “real life” finance skills are missed from education curriculum and key skills for the future aren’t taught in standard schools, colleges or universities. Given their profession, these guys are in a great position to fill those blanks and inform our Digipigz on a variety of finance related topics.
Last week, the first session took place where a healthy handful of Digipigz, students, self-employed and employed, met at the Inspire offices to discuss through a list of requested topics including; personal finance, mortgages and credit scores.
Dan Randall described the session as a “mind opener” to financial topics he may not have understood in detail before.
Covering a series of FAQ’s as well as sparking wider discussion on the topics, our Litter members were able to update their knowledge on some really crucial areas in a fun and welcoming environment.
Sophie Rischmiller of Emporia Creative said: “I learned so many things that I may not even have thought of if they were not explained to me. I really look forward to any more sessions you guys put on, very informative and extremely entertaining!”
James Inge, who’s hoping to grow his photography business after Uni, said “I learnt so much and gave me a lot of food for thought.”
A huge thanks goes out to Joe Hayes and Ellen Benjamin from Inspire Professional Services for facilitating this free session. It was a great success, super informative and totally reflected the fun and laid back nature of Digipigz. Looking forward to the next one!
(We always love hearing from different people in different professions who want to give back to the upcoming and thriving generation. Oink @ us to discuss more!)
One of our Digipigz got in contact and needed another young person to speak at his college as part of his course, we put the request out to the group and Dan kindly put himself forward. Dan is currently undertaking an apprenticeship and has a really compelling story on how he got there. Read his account how the talk went and what he spoke about:
When I received a message from the DigiPigz scheme to try and find a speaker to talk to a group of college students, I was more than keen to do it. Public speaking is something I’ve always felt confident doing, but I’ve never spoken in front of a younger audience or an audience of this size. After having got in contact with Cameron, who was organizing the event for part of his course at the college, I was given a clear indication of what they wanted.
I started by putting together a brief plan. This included the areas I wanted to talk about, photos I can use and the Do’s and Don’ts. My main concern was to not overload the presentation with text. The areas I wanted to cover were: my career, current work, my business, how to get started and tips from past experience.
I covered information about different careers in Retail or Catering, as these are the most popular jobs for 16 to 19-year olds. I talked about the skills each job could give them and how they can be transferred. I talked about my journey so far and what I’ve learnt, stressing my ‘no regrets’ mindset, having the persistence and obsessiveness to never give up. I believe without this, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
On the day, I was nervous but got a warm welcome. The room soon filled up with more people than I expected but I kept calm and remembered what I had been taught previously. I spoke clearly and at a steady speed, so everyone could understand me and involved the audience by asking questions. The talk lasted for roughly 30 minutes and I was happy with it. I got a round of applause at the end which made me feel proud.
This has now given me the confidence to be able to talk in front of people especially when speaking to larger audiences. It was also a great way network. I will be talking at the DigiPigz launch event in Bournemouth. I am looking forward to this; I feel it will be a great networking event and a chance to meet new, like-minded people.
One of our Digipigz, Josh, has written for the blog this week on a video game called Fortnite which has seen incredible popularity and has taken a different approach to the traditional business model video games. Josh is currently studying Media, English Language and Geography at A Level. He is looking to go to university and study marketing. His social media app of choice is Instagram and if he could have one super power, it would be time control.
I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark; you’ve probably heard of Fortnite by now. In what can only be described as the most popular game title of recent years, Fortnite has completely taken over the gaming scene and there are many suggestions that this phenomenon is here to stay.
Developed by Epic Games, Fortnite was first released as a co-op sandbox survival game, with a focus on fighting zombies. However, the Fortnite you are likely to have heard of today is in fact entitled ‘Fortnite Battle Royale’.
After witnessing the incredible success of an ever-growing genre through popular titles such as PUBG and H1Z1, Epic decided to create their own take on the battle royale genre using the mechanics of their already released game. Their spin-off consists of 100 players facing off, either alone or as part of a team, against enemies also equipped with a variety of weapons and materials which can be used to build forts and defences. Meanwhile, players must account for the oncoming storm, which through dealing lethal damage, continually confines them into a dense safe zone until only one team remains.
But what actually makes this game special and why is it on everybody’s lips? Well as a Fortnite player myself, I think that’s quite simple. The most important reason behind this is that Fortnite is, in fact, a free-to-play game. This has made the game widely accessible, whilst also allowing for the rapid growth of the huge user base we see today. In the past, gamers may have been put off trying out the latest gaming title because of a £50 price tag, however, it’s been made impossible to be at a loss when giving Fortnite a go. Worst case scenario, you decide that you don’t like the game and you simply never touch it again.
But how do the developers make money out of a game that’s free-to-play? Well once again, that’s also simple – through the use of microtransactions. Gamers are given the opportunity to buy cosmetic items to be used by their in-game characters for real life currency and it may surprise people that, this is an excellent source of revenue. From my personal experience, players are more likely to invest in a game with no initial cost as a way of supporting a game that they enjoy.
Furthermore, gamers benefit from vibrant outfits and gear that really sets them apart from other players and makes that victory celebration even more special. This business model is enhanced by the use of an item shop, in which cosmetics are available as part of a rotation. This encourages gamers to buy an item while they can as there are no guesses as to when it will next be available, if at all.
It’s important to note that these cosmetic items offer no competitive advantage, allowing users the choice as to whether they want to invest in the latest emote or backbling. Players have an equal opportunity to win whether they have the most expensive cosmetics or if they’ve never spent a penny on the game and this is extremely attractive to gamers. Instead, the ingredient for success is skill, which is something that can be achieved by all.
The success of this game should not, however, be solely accredited to its astute business model, but also the talent of its players. The viral success of the game has propelled many Fortnite gamers into the limelight, many of which have then contributed vastly to the success of the game themselves.
One example of this is the twitch streamer, Tyler Blevins, AKA, Ninja.
After building a following as a Halo gamer in recent years, Ninja has since become the online face of Fortnite. He has the most followers on Twitch, an online live-streaming service, with a current total of over 5.1 million. He has also gained over 4 million YouTube subscribers in just one month and it’s been reported that he makes over half a million dollars every month through his gaming.
Most recently, he could be accredited with Fortnite’s greatest marketing success to date. On the 14th March 2018, Ninja played Fortnite with hip-hop star Drake in front of a record 628,000 concurrent Twitch viewers. If it wasn’t already, this moment brought Fortnite into the mainstream and I believe it’s here to stay.
The future is bright for Fortnite. Cross-platform is the most recent feature Epic Games have announced and will allow mobile users to play with their friends on either a console, PC or both. This epitomises Fortnite’s desire to explore new avenues as a pioneer in the gaming industry. We are on the horizon of a new dawn for gaming and I suspect that this won’t be the last you hear of Fortnite, whoever you may be.
This week, we caught up with one of our recent additions to the Digipigz litter, Immy. She is currently studying photography, drama and sociology at A Level. She passionately creative, and this drive has led her to design an original video game poster as part of a school project as well as having her own photography website.
Immy thinks Facebook is outdated yet her favourite website is Instagram. She is a night owl and likes to plan ahead. If she could have one super power it would be the ability to pause and rewind time. When she was little she wanted to go to Hogwarts and be a Minister of magic, but now she can see photography becoming a career for her:
Firstly what sparked your interest in photography?
I always loved still images, paintings, drawings, photographs. I felt like they had such a story to tell and I wanted to be part of that, to capture that moment in time. I asked for an SLR camera on my 13th birthday, so rather than saying ‘that would make a good photo’ or taking grainy pictures on my Blackberry I could finally take the kind of photos I wanted. I’ve realised now, I’d like to go into it as a career. As much as I love surrealism, I want to go into commercial photography, preferably fashion or portraiture.
Image by Immy Merridew
Considering the future you want for yourself, is there anything that concerns or limits you about the industry?
I think with the rise of high quality cameras on smartphones, what can take days on Photoshop and an enormous amount of skill, takes seconds on a smartphone. Obviously the quality isn’t as good but most people prefer speed and convenience over quality.
So then, how do you think that can be avoided?
I think we just have to up our game, show people that the quality is worth the wait and create a style or feature that would be impossible or difficult to replicate on a smartphone.
Image by Immy Merridew
What style do you prefer working in?
I love portraiture, there’s something about photographing people and making them look their best that appeals massively to me, it gives them a confidence boost that makes it worth it. I like naturalistic styles as much as I like surrealism, so in one photo you might see someone outside surrounded by nature and the next shot could be someone surrounded by light trails with eyes Photoshopped on their hands.
Who is your favourite traditional photographer?
I think it has to be Gjon Mili, though Henri Cartier-Bresson came close, I love his work with light, it’s so beautiful, and because of the long exposure there’s so much more to the picture than what meets the eye. You can see the history and the future in his stills while still having a focus, which is amazing. I especially love his work with the figure skater Carol Lynne for LIFE magazine, there’s so much beauty and elegance in the images. I also love his pictures with Jascha Heifetz, the violinist, as you can see the sound of the piece from the light trails on the bow of the violin.
Image by Gjon Mili
Image by Gjon Mili
Are there any modern photographers whose work you find particularly interesting and why?
I think because of my love for surrealism I was drawn to Brooke Shaden and Christian Hopkins, both have a very different but surreal style. Brooke’s images look simple but are immensely complex when you analyse them, her focus is normally quite personal or political. I love how there’s always more to the eye in her images and it takes more than just a quick look to unravel the story behind them. Christian used a very personal topic to focus his images on his depression, and by extension, his images have a powerful and personal feel to them, both liberating and soul crushing at the same time. He was even part of my final piece in my photography A level.
Image by Brooke Shaden
Image by Christian Hopkins
How important do you think photography is to businesses in the modern day? Has it become more important? Has video impacted this?
Personally I believe photography is irreplaceable to businesses because as advertising goes onto social media more, people want something that is suited to the platform they’re using. So Instagram will always need photographs, whereas YouTube has the demand for videos. It is also almost common sense that the higher the quality the more likely you are to sell your product or service. I think while video is important nothing can replace the still image; it will simply evolve to meet demand, such as 360 images. They’re a still image but meeting a modern market.
Considering tech has developed and changed the way we photograph, where do you see the industry going in the future?
I think with the increase of smartphones and high quality images without the need for an SLR the way we photograph will change and has changed dramatically! I think SLRs will become more compact because the need to transport these cameras like a phone will become another priority. I think still images are the basis for many industries, such as video, and many people find inspiration in them. I think this will allow the industry to grow as it will always be needed.
Image by Immy Merridew
Leave us with one thing that inspires you and your passion for photography…
A quote I heard quite early on was ‘focus on the positives, crop out the negatives, and if you don’t like the picture try again.’ This is something I use both in photography and in real life. You’re rarely good at something on the first try (*cough* Photoshop) so give it 100% and if you’re not happy, try again.
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