For the first time last week we opened our office doors to a group of year 10 students from the Forest Gate Community School to introduce them to the world of marketing.
The project, Bridging the Gap, aims to provide kids who may not have considered, or even known about careers in marketing, with an insight into the world we work in. The hope is that we’ll open their eyes to an exciting career path that’s full of opportunities, and begin to provide them with some of the skills and relevant experience to get them one step ahead when it comes to personal statements and interviews.
The first surprise of the day was the dead silence they entered the office in. We had expected a similar level of chaos to what we’d seen when we first went into the school, with hundreds of kids pushing through the school corridors between lessons.
But this wasn’t the only surprise of the day. We found that although the kids initially hadn’t a clue what marketing was, by repositioning what we do to them using simplified (and jargon free) language, and consumer examples that were more relevant to them, they grasped the concepts we were teaching incredibly quickly.
We ran three sessions, including an introduction to marketing, audience marketing (our jargon busted phrase for persona marketing) and social media advertising. Two to three Agent3 team members ran each of the sessions, and we seeded a good mix of theory and practical activities to keep the kids engaged and interested.
What wasn’t surprising was how well they responded to the social media task of writing captions for Instagram, with many of them producing work that could give us a run for our money.
But what’s in it for us?
Giving back, or CSR as it has come to be known in the business world, not only has a positive impact on the community, but it’s also great for employees as well.
Bridging the Gap has given us the opportunity to take a step back from the day to day client work, and presented us with a whole new challenge. Thinking about how we could teach and engage the kids around marketing, something that many of them had never heard of or thought about before, encouraged us to think outside the box and work together as a team.
Providing employees with the chance to get involved in activities outside of work generates much higher levels of employee satisfaction. Whether it be getting involved in CSR activities such as Bridging the Gap, or organising social activities, or having a say in office environment and decor. Allowing employees to shape the company they work for increases happiness at work, and inevitably leads to greater employee retention.
I’m really looking forward to welcoming the next set of kids to the workshops we are running in May, as well as rolling out the concept to our other offices, so that we can provide as many kids as possible with this opportunity – from London to New York!