In order for Agency Life to work properly, we need to make sure you know what to expect. We’ve mentioned what you can expect from our students in our post about projects but we also need you to know what we and the students need from you. It’s not very onerous.
- Students will need to regard you as an employer. So – the thing you do with all employees is make sure they’re in when you expect them to be. A key life experience is “turning up for work” and we rely on you to make sure that’s covered.
- At the end of Term 1, you’ll need to check the student proposed Personal Development Plan (PDP) – a short A4 document – and you’ll need to agree that you think it’s what the student should do in order to develop and improve throughout Term 2.
- At the end of Term 2, you’ll need to use a short form to assess the quality of the team’s work and to assess their qualities as a team.
That’s all the paperwork – we’ve kept it to a minimum.
The key thing is keeping the student team working. The tasks should be enough to keep them busy for 2 terms – so whether it’s lots of different tasks every week, a long project over two terms or several short projects: it’s up to you and your firm. Whatever gives you some value back and provides that “experience” that you would be happy to accept when you want those graduates with experience later on.
We’ve got several different kinds of student working on Agency Life from September – they come from different course routes (but have very similar educational outcomes from their first year at university – the second year is where they start to specialise).
Our routes are: Marketing Management, Advertising & Brand Management, Retail Marketing, PR & Digital.
There’s no limit to what students can do – there should be some link between the work they carry out within your firm and their career aspirations. There’s no distinction between offline and digital as we realise that all our students need experience in both. We’d love to have projects that are based within PR firms, full service marketing firms, digital agencies, advertising agencies and communications businesses.
As an example it makes sense that PR students engage with a PR company (or the PR function of an organisation). But those students aren’t limited to that kind of work or that kind of organisation.
What can students tackle? Remember your first day at work? What did you do? What did you find useful/would you have found useful? Students are going to be working with you for 2 terms, at least half a day on your chosen site and half a day back at MMU. What would you like doing? Is it every day work that needs hands? Do you have a project that needs starting and completing? Have you committed to a pro bono piece that you’ve not had to time to do? Is there research that needs picking up? Do you have a part of the business that could do with a bit of extra help? Where could you benefit from a fresh set of eyes unfettered by baggage and “can’t be done” attitudes.
The key things is – it’s up to you. We want your student group to add value to what you do – and the value they get is experience. What experience do you want when you hire graduates? Think about it and then say – how could I provide that experience here?
Have a look at our post “Can you be an Agency Life agency?” and see if it’s something you can offer. It won’t cost you anything.
I regularly meet people in industry from Manchester at networking events, award ceremonies and conferences. Conversation inevitably comes around to someone saying they need staff but those people “must have experience”. We can’t “teach” experience at University, it’s something that can only be acquired in the workplace. Graduates can be trapped after finishing University because they might have knowledge but all of the job ads say “Must have experience.” Employers are trapped because they feel they need someone who can hit the ground running but can’t find anyone – and most people who have post-university experience are in a different price range.
So it’s important that Agency Life is here. It’s an opportunity for undergraduates to gain important skills from the workplace that they can demonstrate to future employees. It’s an opportunity for agency and client employers to provide that experience in a convenient way and for them to make sure that undergraduates are getting “that kind” of experience they’re looking for. Without your help we can’t meet your needs.
So – please look at Agency Life. Keep in touch with the web site, follow our Twitter feed (@MMUAgencyLife) and “Like” our Facebook Page. We’re hoping you can join us as an “Agency Life Employer.”