Applying for Special Edition? Read this.

Last week we opened applications for Special Edition – our flagship personal development programme for ambitious women in Scotland’s digital sector. In true TRC style, we wanted to mark the launch with a bang.

So, we called up some of our brilliant Special Edition alumni from the past six years, got the snacks and after-work beverages in and opened up our doors to potential candidates for this year’s programme.

Couldn’t make it along? Here’s what we covered.

After some drinks and chat with a packed room of brilliant women in digital, TRC’s Joint Managing Directors Margaret Scott and Claire Scally kicked off the event with an overview on of what we do at TRC, followed by Special Edition project manager Caroline McGonigle’s details of key programme dates (applications are open now and close on 1st August!)

It was then time to hand over to our panel, who were all incredibly honest, generous and insightful in sharing their experiences on Special Edition and advice for anyone thinking of applying this year.

The panel:

• Cat Leaver, Director at Brand Scotland (Class of 2013/14)
• Stephanie Lindsay, Director of Delivery & Marketing, Dog (Class of 2014/15)
• Kaye Symington, Co-Founder of Paved with Gold (Class of 2016/17)
• Laura McHard, Creative Technologist at Frame (Class of 2017/18)
• Laura Thomson, Strategy and Communications Director at Cause + Effect (Class of 2018/19)

Here’s what we covered through our informal chat with our alumni superstars:

Why apply for Special Edition?

Everyone’s experience on the programme is unique, but a few highlights of take-aways from Special Edition include:

Increased confidence for all aspects of your career – from speaking up in meetings to taking the leap and going for that job promotion. One of our speakers spoke about a significant promotion gained after completing the programme, which she never would have had the confidence to go for had it not been for Special Edition.

A professional toolkit: Fine-tune your presentation and networking skills, work on creative problem solving, tackle difficult conversations with ease and advance your leadership skills. One of the panelists spoke about her former fear of presenting in public, that lead her to turn down a big speaking opportunity just before starting the programme. Not long after starting on Special Edition she had accepted (and nailed) a speaking gig, with her fellow Special Edition cohort supporting from the audience. The training allows you to identify clear goals and gives you the practical tools to get there.

Challenging perceptions: Special Edition gives you a safe space to learn and grow and you’ll be amazed at just how much can change in just six months. Laura McHard spoke about a ‘lightbulb moment’ when it came to her idea of what a leader should be: there are so many different leadership styles and we shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed of our own style.

A network for life : Gaining a network of like-minded women to learn from, support and grow alongside throughout the programme and beyond is one of Special Edition’s hidden gems. Cat’s Special Edition group from six years ago are still regularly in contact through their closed Facebook group and all the speakers spoke about the value of a lasting network. Special Edition is for life, not just for Christmas!

Top tips for applying:

Be honest. In your application you should be as clear as possible on why you think Special Edition would benefit you in your career. You should highlight areas for improvement that you think the course could help you tackle. It’s not a job application, so don’t try and come across as the ‘finished package.’

Ask for advice. One of our panelists said she had a friend write the first draft of her application for her. It might sound daunting, but having someone who knows you well highlight your strengths and weaknesses can be a really useful exercise.

Don’t doubt yourself! Imposter syndrome was a big topic of discussion with the panel and Q&A and something we know people have struggled with in applying to Special Edition. The conclusion? If you meet the application criteria then you have nothing to lose in putting an application forward. If you have any queries around your eligibility (in terms of your seniority or your job role, get in touch with Caroline McGonigle, Special Edition Project Manager)

A huge thanks to Cat, Kaye, Stephanie, Laura M and Laura T for sharing their stories and wisdom, and to all who came along to toast another year of Special Edition.

Applications are now open for Special Edition and close on 1st August. Special Edition is heavily subsidised by our partners: BBC Nations and Regions, Channel 4, Scottish Enterprise & Screen Scotland. The fee is £395. Find out more and apply now.