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Tackling the gap between education and industry

2 min, 44 sec read
15:33 PM | 2 March 2012

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What do you want to do when you grow up?

When we are young and only aware of a few professions we tend to respond easily to this question, I always used to switch between footballer and farmer. But as we move through the education system this question becomes harder to answer for the majority of us. Those that move onto vocational courses or get into a university medical school have their path into the workplace made clear for them, eased out of education and into industry through practical sessions in the workplace. For those who study without real workplace experience, the gap between education and industry widens.

In order to start thinking about how to answer the big ‘what next’ question that every relative, neighbour and parent seems to ask every time you see them, you must first be aware of the opportunities available to you. This is not easy and there is no perfect technique. In my experience I sat down and asked myself ‘What do I like’ and I knew I liked the thought of designing an advert for a billboard, so I decided to look into advertising. I now work in a branding consultancy and couldn’t be further from designing an advert, but I’m in the same industry and it was through different experiences interning, chatting to people working in the industry and being prepared to work hard that eventually led to a permanent position. I had five unpaid work placements before I got a job and that is the reality young educated people face. But tackling those placements positively helped better define what I actually wanted to do and made me realise what I could do. By getting involved and showing a willingness to learn, the opportunities started to appear.

Therefore my advice is to pro-actively find out more about something you are interested in and try to gain some experience of it. You’re likely to get a 1 in 30 hit rate on e-mails to people in the industry but make a connection and it is more than likely to lead to another. It is about who you know but progressing what you know will increase your credibility with those you know and ultimately lead to a clearer view of what your options are.

FutureRising aims to fill the gap between education and industry through collaborative projects and provides insight from two sources. Young people who are employed in the marketing and advertising industry and mentors who have worked in industry for a long time. Both should be able to shed some light on what employers are looking for and share their experiences of tackling the gap between education and industry.

I want FutureRising to become a hub for young people to find information that helps to bridge the gap and utilise the range of services we are building to connect with key people and business’ within the industry. To kick off the FutureRising project, every week we will invite a young industry expert to provide content that educates and inspires young people to connect with the advertising and marketing industry. If you would like to know more about the project and how we plan to connect young people (you) and industry then please...

One last thing... watch this inspiring RSAnimate video...

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