Being a young person attempting to start their career in the midst of a global pandemic is no small feat. Having completed a Sociology degree at Liverpool John Moores University, I was sure that I wanted to enter into a career that focused on helping others and combatting social injustices, but my studies had lacked a vocational element, leaving me without a clear path to guide my future. I aspire to work within one of the many charities making incredible change, however without the essential experience these roles desired, I was left at a loss for what steps to take next.
Then I was led to Agent Academy. One of my closest friends completed the programme four years ago and has progressed with the skills she has learnt to become a marketing manager for one of the city region’s biggest out of home advertising companies. After learning that the client challenge for Agent Academy 15 would be working with the Anthony Walker Foundation, a charity combatting race and faith-based hate crime in the Liverpool City Region, I was excited by the prospect of learning how to make valuable change and was left with no other choice but to apply.
On commencement of the programme, I was surprised with how incredibly enjoyable each week was. Attending two days a week, myself and 9 other young people have spent the last 12 weeks learning a varied range of digital marketing skills and applying these to a real-life client challenge. From strategy, to creative and then finally specific digital marketing skills such as search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising, we have really covered it all!
This all came together when we began to use our knowledge to devise and implement social media campaigns, intended to drive traffic to the Anthony walker Foundation. In groups of 2-4 people, we formulated our own creative social media campaigns, educating people on the realities of hate crime and encouraging reporting, using the Anthony Walker Foundation reporting tool.
Agent Academy has given me so many new skills and experiences which I can now take with me and confidently apply to future roles knowing that I meet the criteria, which I previously never would have had without this opportunity. With a solid grounding in many elements of marketing and a particular focus on digital, I feel confident that I now have the skills to carve a clear path for my future.
Agent Academy has not only upskilled me but also increased my confidence massively. Whether it be through regular meetings with our client or direct engagement with the Liverpool City Region general public, we were never without an opportunity to challenge ourselves, leave our comfort zones and develop newfound confidence to communicate impactfully. Alongside this, we have been afforded a comprehensive understanding of the industry, not available to those who are yet to work in it, and a wealth of knowledge regarding the great work and latest developments happening in Liverpool.
Along the way, we met countless, excellent guest speakers who have shared their knowledge, experiences and personal pathways to creating positive change and success in their respective industries. I have taken valuable insights from all of these inspiring people, but two in particular stood out to me.
As our first guest speaker, Dougal Paver of Merrion Strategy, gave us an insightful and engaging talk using history and anecdotes to teach us the importance of marketing strategy. Dougal also offered some excellent book recommendations, particularly Purple Cow by Seth Godin, and we all left encouraged to think outside of the box in our future endeavours.
Lynn Collins, regional secretary for the Northwest Trade Unions Congress, talked to us about all things equality, diversity and inclusion. She highlighted the need for the good work that organisations such as the Anthony Walker Foundation are doing but also illustrated the amazing steps that are currently being taken in the Liverpool City Region by groups such as the Fairness And Social Justice Advisory Board (FASJAB).
I also did not expect to be so pleased by the social element to the programme. I have made several friends; these are people I know I will keep in touch with in the future, as we continue to help each other advance in our careers. At a time when globally, we have been forced into isolation and disconnected from each other, it was invaluable to connect with likeminded young people and I know that I have made friends for years to come.
Overall, the skills, lessons, and experiences that I have gained through the Agent Academy programme have positioned me to enter my professional career with confidence and an ability to tackle any task put in front of me. With some members of the cohort having already found new employment opportunities in areas that they are passionate about, the fruits of Agent Academy have been proven right before my eyes.
Agent academy has been an incredibly enjoyable and developing 12 weeks, providing me with skills and experience like no other opportunity I have come across. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity, and I now head into my future feeling prepared and excited for whatever may come my way!