A DESIGN agency has launched an unusual not-for-profit scheme which aims to keep creative talent in the North East by offering young people their first real taste of work.
Newcastle-based Studio Precept has opened Shift which will bring in graduates and students the chance to work on internships and work placements in what is effectively their own creative company.
Those looking to start careers in areas including branding, advertising, new technology and web design will get the chance to work on Shift’s own contracts under the guidance of Studio Precept professionals.
It was launched by the Ouseburn firm’s design director Nick Johnson to help offer an opportunity to graduates that he missed out on.
“I was very lucky when I came out of university. Of the 20 people who completed my course only a handful got a job. There’s a lot of talent out there but so few opportunities,” he said.
“The North East is a perfect place to be a centre for the creative industry but students just go from here to London companies to get work.
“I want to see London companies coming up to the North East for our creative companies. This will give creative young people the experience and perhaps the contacts they need to get a job at firms up here.”
Those on six to 12 month unpaid internships or on short term placements will get to work on smaller contracts for which clients will be charged a low rate. The revenues will be ploughed back into keeping the scheme going. Around a dozen have been taken on so far but Johnson hopes it will grow.
He says the only benefit his business gets beyond the chance to see promising young creatives which he may recruit to his five-strong team is some input from them on Studio Precept contracts in the hope they will bring a fresh approach to its work.
Johnson said: “We don’t want to be trend-led but these young people will be able to give us new ideas and a better insight into their perspective on creative concepts and new technology.
“I have spent about £5,000 on this so far and will probably spend double that on it this year but it is not about profit for us or Shift. There won’t be any profit, anything it makes will be put back into Shift to keep it going. This about making a culture where creative talent grows in this region.”
The methods used by the initiative will be showcased at an event in the region later in the year. The findings will be used to encourage other students to set up a business or businesses to take on students.
Tickets are available at http://www.indiegogo.com/weareshift and all proceeds will go towards running the programme and the event.