Captivating the next Generation of Creatives:

The Blackdog College Engagement Programme

By Blackdog - one year ago


There’s plenty to be said about having years of experience under your belt, but you’d be wise to also see the value in those that are fresh to the industry. Combine the two, and with the benefits of both wisdom and new perspectives, you’re bound to have found a recipe for success.

We launched our college engagement programme with Hertford Regional College in 2021 and have since worked closely with them to deliver mentoring, workshops and live briefs. Our aim in initiating the programme was two-fold: firstly, to offer skill-building and development to the younger creative generation and secondly to scope out developing talent for potential future collaboration.

This year, we set the students a live brief that involved creating a new brand for paint and decorating tools, which ran alongside a workshop led by Blackdog’s Creative Director, Deputy Creative Director and Design Head exploring techniques and processes that go into developing brand names and stories. When asked how the students found the experience, the overwhelming feedback was that they were “excited to be working with Blackdog”. They found the presentation “clear and helpful”, felt there was a “friendly atmosphere” and were “made to feel comfortable”.


Design Head Kerry Oldham, who liaised with the college and helped create the programme, says,

“Remembering our own experiences as students at the start of our creative careers has been vital in helping us shape this programme with the college.

It is an opportunity I personally would have grabbed with both hands, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm from the students when we collaborate on workshops.

We are very excited to see the next round of creative responses to our current brief in December and hope that we have given the students a real boost to their careers.”

In addition to our workshops, we have hosted students for work experience, giving them valuable insight into working within both the creative and artworking departments. And we have also recently welcomed Jessie Lee to the team on a six-month work placement within the creative team after she approached us via the programme to gain further experience and insight. In the two months she’s been at Blackdog, she has become a real asset to the team, and has particularly excelled in animation and video editing. Jessie says,

“Everyone at Blackdog has been great – they’ve made me feel welcome from the very start!

Joining the team here has given me an amazing opportunity to work in a creative environment and collaborate with professional designers as well as gaining insight into the world of creative marketing.”

Since initiating the programme with great success, we plan to develop it further to get the best from the students and offer them maximum benefit, taking into consideration course timings and demands to enable the students to make the most of the opportunity.

We’re firm believers that mentorship offers a mutual benefit. Offering the students our guidance and expertise enables them to grow and develop their skills, gain crucial workplace experience and create contacts in the industry, while we can ensure we keep our thinking current and benefit from the opportunity to collaborate with up-and-coming talent. Knowledge-sharing is vital for company growth and development, and a mentoring programme is a fantastic way to nurture the next generation of creatives.