Last year we welcomed three students from our sixth form partner Harringey6 into EVCOM for work experience. Each of them spent a day with us, and we organised their time with us around interesting events.

Their days have varied. One spent most of his time with us sitting in on the review sessions we hold with our judges to decide the winners of the EVCOM London Live and Film Awards. He saw some of the best work of the industry, and listened to rigorous debate on what makes a standout project.

Another joined us for one of Senior Leaders’ breakfast and was a much-needed perspective in a room of senior leaders discussing the behavioural trends of Gen Z. Another spent her afternoon at a masterclass focused around creativity, in which, alongside our participants, she was encouraged to think differently, to look for inspiration outside the box. In the office, they worked on a mixture of administrative tasks and creative tasks.

As young people, they received insight into an office environment and the chance to listen in on conversations that would usually be closed to them. They saw some fantastic work, got to hear from some very senior people in the industry and got to ask us questions about our careers so far.

But it was a two-way street.

They had strong opinions and we got to hear them. The student who attended the Gen Z focused breakfast wrote a manifesto for the importance of including young people in the conversation, not just through surveys and questionnaires, but directly. “Marketing for the younger generations will only be effective when the idea of working with the audience and not for the audience is understood,” she wrote. The student who attended the creativity workshop with us, spoke about how her and many of her peers were not considering university because of the cost, highlighting how important it is that we continue to work to reach young people outside of educational establishments.

As an organisation, we got to ask their perspective on getting into our industry and find out what their concerns and interests were. We are passionate about working for young people, but often we are planning our next gen campaigns without their input. Our shadow board plays a huge role in making sure the work we are doing for young people is relevant and valuable. And so do the people who do work experience with us. They shared where they were at when it came to decisions about college and the working world, and spoke to us about what they are looking for in a career and what matters to them in a workplace and in a role.

Work experience is a vital way to show young people what our sector has to offer, but it can be just as valuable for organisations and agencies too.

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