Inspiring Digital Leaders: An internship with a difference

What happens when you take 5 digital agencies, 5 new graduates and 1 big idea conceived at a networking dinner?

Well… if you add some committed collaborators, a tight project-management schedule, a rigorous interview process and a 5-month rotational internship with 5 of Scotland’s leading digital agencies, you might just end up with something like Inspiring Digital Leaders.

We’ve just wrapped on the pilot year of this exciting new graduate programme – a collaboration between TRC, BIMA Scotland and 5 leading digital agencies: After Digital, Dog, Equator, Front Page and Screenmedia. Whilst we still can’t believe that 5 months have passed already, we thought now would be a good time to reflect on some of the highlights of an ambitious experiment turned hugely successful graduate programme (if we don’t say so ourselves!)

How did it start?

As lots of great things do – with a bright idea and a commitment to working together. At BIMA Scotland’s first annual Digital Leaders Dinner in 2017, a group of agency leaders were discussing a key aspect of their businesses: recruiting and retaining talent. By pledging to work together on something great, the businesses joined with TRC and BIMA and endeavoured to create a programme that would benefit new graduates considering a career in digital, and in turn have a positive impact on the Scottish digital industry overall.

“I would have loved the opportunity to take part in a programme like this when I was starting out. Getting to work in and learn about the different disciplines of an agency and getting to experience life in different agencies too would have been an invaluable experience. I think I would have found it incredibly challenging and rewarding and I’m sure it would also have pushed me well outside of my comfort zone at times, but that’s often a good thing, right?” – Jackie Arnott-Raymond, Managing Director, Front Page

Agency representatives at the graduate interview day

What did we learn?

That great things can happen when we collaborate! Each agency dedicated to training the graduates in one of five key disciplines: Digital Marketing (Equator), UX Design (After Digital), Content Strategy & Brand Language (Front Page) and Web Development (Screenmedia). On top of their on-the-job training with each agency, the graduates also received formal training from TRC on subjects like public speaking and goal setting, giving them the best grounding to kick-start their career in digital. If their end-of-programme presentations are anything to go by (which they delivered to a room full of agency bosses and leaders of their key modules) then the future’s bright for this ‘fab five’ – as they were affectionately known throughout the programme.

So, what’s the verdict?

How did the trainees benefit from their 5 months on the Inspiring Digital Leaders programme? We asked for their feedback on the pilot…

“Inspiring Digital Leaders has genuinely changed my life direction. Thanks to the incredible support, diversity of content and most of all, the people, this programme has set me up for success not only in my career, but anything I choose to go on to do next. Developing talent is at the forefront of what this programme is for, and IDL has succeeded in every possible regard. I cannot recommend it enough.” – Evan Kayes

“I left a job to take part in the IDL programme which was a risky move at the time. In 5 short months I’ve gone from zero to hero, amassing huge amounts of knowledge, contacts and opportunities within the digital sector. I feel totally invigorated and optimistic for the future with a new-found confidence and tons of new tools in my toolbox. If you get the chance and are ready for a challenge, do this programme!” – Rosa Downing

“The experience has been immensely valuable in ways I can’t even quantify. My confidence in myself and my capabilities has increased beyond what I ever thought was possible, sometimes the greatest barrier to achieving your dreams is your self-doubt! I’d encourage anyone who thinks that they can’t do it, that this opportunity is too good for them, to apply now because you never know what could happen.I have a much clearer idea of my future career path thanks to IDL and hopefully in 10 years time I’ll look back on this as the moment that kick-started it all.” -Patrick Fearon

“Thanks to IDL, I was not only able to get an idea of what the digital design industry is like, I also feel like I found my place within it – I couldn’t have asked for more. A big thank you to everyone involved in making these five months so special!” – Julia Rosner

“I’m someone who loves meeting people and finding out what’s going on, and I feel like my understanding of the Glaswegian agency landscape has really accelerated. The leaders and mentors we’ve been working with have been both inspiring and personable; a programme like this makes me feel confident and excited for the future, that I can build a career here and have a thriving network of people to do it with.” – Eddie Allbutt

And that’s a wrap!

Want to find out more about the programme? Here’s a short round-up of some further reading:

  • Visit the course page for full details on the programme and register your interest in future editions.
  • Meet the interns! We welcome applicants from a wide range of disciplines to apply for IDL – BIMA’s blog series highlights the diversity of experiences brought to the programme.
  • Check out Screenmedia’s blog to find out about the interns’ experience with development
  • Front Page were the brains behind the branding of the programme. Check out their work.
  • Agency keen to get involved in the programme? Hear from After Digital about their experience on IDL.