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5 minutes with Marc Lewis: A-level results amidst a global pandemic

A-level results this year are more anxiety-provoking than ever for those whose education has been disrupted by coronavirus. Yet, if ever there was a need for creativity to fuel innovation, it is now, and perhaps this can be a cause for optimism among the creative talent finishing school this year. What skills does our industry need to promote in its emerging talent? And how is this affected in light of coronavirus and the disruptions so far, and knock-on effects in the future? We grabbed 5 minutes with the Dean at advertising school SCA, Marc Lewis, who shared his thoughts on the current situation.

What do you look for in emerging talent?

I ask myself two things; (i) Will they make me famous? In other words, do they have something about them that makes me believe that we can win another Black Pencil with hard work, and (ii) Do they have the strength of character to be pushed every day, take criticism and keep coming back for more?

With coronavirus disrupting education, workplace internships and hiring, what are the attributes emerging creatives can work on outside of this that will serve them in their careers?

In some ways, Coronavirus has been a blessing and a wonderful opportunity for anyone wanting to become a creative in advertising. It’s easier to get quality time with amazing mentors. There are hundreds of free courses. My students discovered that they can work for global clients.  

All these things are dependent on being good at networking. Don’t neglect that attribute whilst developing your other skills.

Can you give an example of how they might do this during the current climate?

Read the trade press forensically. Read the annuals. Get to know who the characters are in the industry, and who inspired them. Most of them are free online.

How can we as an industry do better to educate emerging talent on what the industry needs from them?

I have written essays on this. There isn’t a short answer. If every professional in the industry took responsibility to do their bit, it will get done. We need to change our culture and make it normal for businesses to take responsibility in educating the next generation, seeing this as an opportunity to create better connections between industry and communities.

Do you think creative qualifications should adapt to respond to the current situation?

Yes, and SCA is working on a qualification that does exactly that. Until then, we believe that telling potential employers that you went to SCA is almost like a qualification in its own right.

If you're looking to upskill during this time why not check out some of our free micro masterclasses such as overcoming self doubt and Imposter Syndrome with Tanya Livesey, or a disruptors guide to thinking big with Digital Product Innovation.


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