By Phil Cookson, director at Creative Resource & co-founder School of Thought

It’s fair to say that the last few weeks have been challenging for all of us in the creative and marketing industries, whether we are working from home, on furlough, running businesses, seeking jobs or freelancing.

At Creative Resource, we’ve been working with universities, brands and agencies for some time with events like Handle This, School of Thought and Two+Two.  Using those contacts we have been able to pull together a programme of virtual workshops, masterclasses and webinars for industry folk and this year’s graduates.  The creative and marketing industries in and around Manchester have once again shown us just how wonderfully generous and collaborative they are.

Lockdown Learning started three weeks ago with a ‘professional’ version aimed at creatives, account handlers and agency leaders, professional trainers Paul Burns Phil Lewis and Jack Milner all donated their time freely with virtual courses and thought provoking webinars.  We’ve now extended that series and included this year’s marketing and creative graduates.

There are now over 32 sessions scheduled for the rest of May and the early part of June and we’ll just keep adding to them. Some of the sessions are only suitable for students, others for anyone currently working in the industry.

Sessions include ‘A Day in the life of..’, ‘Agency Meet and Greets’, and talks on subjects ranging from ‘Brand is Culture’, ‘Managing Clients in Times of Change’,  ‘Persona Building’, ‘From Research to the Big Idea’,  ‘The Secret Life of Search’ and many more.  Furloughed employees and freelancers, keen to build on their skills and knowledge are finding them very helpful in their quest to stay connected and relevant.  I don’t think we can overlook the importance of helping them to do that.

There’s no doubt that 2020 graduates are coming into the job market at a time of extreme uncertainty.  The repercussions for those graduating in 2008 was felt for years not just in terms of their own prospects but the effect it had on the industry.   In many areas a skills shortage developed as we recovered from the financial crisis and resulting recession.  Not just in technical roles, such as web development, but in areas such as agency account management.  As the market picked up there was a real demand for talent, everyone wanted someone with 2 years’ experience and there was a chasm of available candidates.  In turn this hampered agencies’ ability to quickly respond to client needs and pushed up salaries. I hope we can avoid that this time round.

To find out more or sign up for an event visit Creative Resource’s events page

Agencies, Individuals and organisations involved include:  Absolute Agency, Access, APS Group, Ashfield, BBC Creative, Bearded Fellows, BPP, CIA, Corporate Punk, Couch, Creative Concern, Dead Pixel, Dept Agency, Havas Lynx, IF, Fourth Day PR, Fun, Jellyfish, Jenny Plant, Jones Knowles Ritchie, Karl Jeffries, McCann Manchester, Mike Pye Marketing, OTB, One Minute Briefs, Red C, Rob Weatherhead, Seventy 7, Social Republic, Stand Up & Deliver, Studio Dotto, Studio UP North, Supremo, TBWA, The & Partnership, The Burns Unit, Trak Global