As a child I was always told by my parents, “you’ll miss school once you leave”. I didn’t believe them. Lo and behold, 15 years down the line, I’m saying the exact same thing to my brother and sisters.
Recently at Counter Context, we were asked to take part in Sheffield Park Academy’s Aspiration Day. Alongside my colleague, James Senior, I happily volunteered. For the first time, I was excited to go to school.
Joining in the school-run traffic, armed with brochures and roller banners, I was interested to see what school was like these days. What I came across was not only a generation that has a clearer view of their future, but also a fountain of new and exciting opportunities.
The Aspiration Day ran as a careers fair for all year groups. It was great to see how many businesses came together to inspire the next generation. Over the course of the day, we spoke with young people about their future plans and ambitions and what we do at Counter Context. From PR to creative design, media monitoring to public affairs – a career many of them had never even considered was now right in front of them.
At Counter Context, we believe more businesses should be getting involved in activities like this. We know the importance of working with local schools and good causes to give something back. It’s important that we take a step back amongst the hustle and bustle of working for a busy agency and see the bigger picture. One day, the students we engage with could be our greatest assets or potential clients.
Perhaps one of the most important developments of the day was the opportunity to improve the way we communicate the work we do in order to connect with a younger audience. Not only are these the people who our businesses will be catering for in the not too distant future, but if you can explain your work to 13 year olds, you will improve at explaining it to others.
Another valuable outcome of these types of event is the networking opportunities they offer. The Aspiration Day gave us the opportunity to speak with businesses with similar values and enabled us to form new relationships with other companies, from banks to training companies.
The students really related to our graphic design work. I showed them some the illustrations and infographics I had produced during my time at Counter Context and was filled with pride at their reactions. It was apparent that in the digital world a picture doesn’t just speak a thousand words, it inspires a thousand minds.
It is really important for businesses to give something back to the next generation. That’s why we’re hugely passionate about getting involved in activities like this. So, if you’re thinking you’d like to speak to your younger self and give advice about navigating the daunting world of full-time employment – perhaps going back to school is the best thing you can do?