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FTW 23 and 24 come in – The Institute for Place Management and NewRooms

A Monday morning FTW as we welcome our 23rd and 24th Agency Life host employees.

Joining us as contributors to student experience are The Institute for Placement Management (woo – our first chartered institute) and Internet retailer newroomsonline – we know these are going to be unusual and revealing projects as there are big things underway in-house.

We know that at least 2 agencies are planning to come back with their registrations today taking us through the halfway mark. We hope they are reading this and remember to mail back their forms 🙂 and there are more in the pipeline. Do you know a Manchester firm, agency or client-side, that could benefit from the help Agency Life provides whilst at the same time giving something back to the student learning experience? Please show them the site – stand over them when they are looking and make sure they see the right things.

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Just Search – Our 20th Agency Life Host – and their Project

Great news just in. Just Search, based in Adlington and in Manchester, have just signed to be one of our host companies. I’ve been talking to Caroline Murray, their HR Manager, about what their team experience will be about. They’ve got a raft of things for the students’ year including working on brand marketing for their clients, looking at social research, creating customer personas, doing research on competitors, creating customer reports for clients, creating content for digital presences, doing press releases, helping with event planning and management and finally (phew) PPC data analysis. A busy year ahead with real experiences that will make these students employable.

Are you an Agency Life firm already? Want to tell us a bit more about your work experience idea for your students? And if you’re not already an Agency Life employer – look at what you’re missing. Sign up now.

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Freelancers can use an Agency Life Team

A number of freelancers, from diverse backgrounds in marketing, advertising, digital, and PR have been in touch to ask how they can take advantage of the Agency Life programme.

They have a number of issues.

  • Issue 1: They don’t have a formal office space in many cases
  • Issue 2: They have several clients at any one time
  • Issue 3: They do lots of different things for different people

These aren’t problems at all.

Issue 1: In our post 6 Students? I don’t have 6 desks. Where can I put them? we looked at the issue of not having enough space to host students on your site. As a freelancer, you’re unlikely to be able to do this. However, you can work with your student team on our site. Get your student team to arrange a regular working space every week for you and them. The New Business School is set up for smart working with you and your student team, so there’s no reason why you and they can’t work on your tasks here.

Issue 2: Why not get your team to assign tasks for your different clients? If you’re going to see a client, why not take the assigned students with you – clients can be very impressed with your commitment to providing students with true work experience – when you go and visit them at a client site?

Issue 3: It’s important our students experience many different skills and tasks. They don’t have to be very narrowly defined by course title or job description. Think how many skills you bring to one client and consider how students can experience that with you. Who knows – they might know something you don’t.

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6 Students? I don’t have 6 desks. Where can I put them?

Several firms have said they’re desperate to take part in Agency Life – but they don’t have the “room for 6 people”: they wish it was just one person.

Option 1: The great thing about the Agency Life Programme is that your team don’t need to come into your office as a team. In effect what you have is 6 days of person time at your disposal, 21 hours of which can be at your site. The other half  of their time can (and in many cases should) be based up with us at The New Business School at All Saints where dedicated space is available for these people.

So you could have say one or two students come in each day.

They don’t have to work on a single specific project. They can each work on their own tasks. You could assign each individual student to individual employees or team leaders and say – “there you are, helping hands”.

Option 2: Students only have to spend half a day with you – the other half can (and should) be spent with us in our dedicated workspace. If you find space is still a problem, you could insist that you always meet your student team at The New Business School and that they book you and them a place to work. It’s easy and we have plenty of space for that too.

Option 2 is great for people like freelancers who don’t necessarily have a fixed space but would like to spend time working with and briefing their team. It’s also a great idea for employers outside Manchester. We can’t expect our students to pay to travel outside Manchester (they’re skint already) but you might be happy to come into town and meet them for a few hours each week to do your work with them. Get the student team to manage the process. After all – they need the experience and time/project management skills are highly rated by future employers.

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Our New Domain is Live –

Our new domain is live – we’re a dot com now – so it’ll be easier to remember this web site address. Please follow our site for updates, and follow our Twitter account @mmuagencylife for news and updates on the Agency Life programme.

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Benefit 1: Get a link from an domain when you sign up for Agency Life

Friends with benefits: When your firm joins our Agency Life programme, we’ll link to you from within our domain. We don’t need to describe the value of an link, but joining our programme means it is legitimate for us to link to all our partners who work on this programme. This is important because we need to be able to link to everyone who takes part – it allows us to audit the reality of our partner links and demonstrate to our student body where their clients are. Want to find out more? Please read Our Elevator Pitch to you. And sign up for one of our “Parents Evening” info sessions, the first of which is on 9th August.

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How much is expected from an Agency Life Employer?

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 1 & 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.

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