Daydream Believers is an initiative spearheaded by Edinburgh College, in partnership with Whitespace, AmazeRealise, Skyscanner and Campfire. It encourages creative thinking in school pupils and introduces them to the possibilities of careers within creative industries. Daydream Believers was founded by our very own junior designer Niamh Curran, alongside her classmate Holly while they were at Edinburgh College studying graphic design. We asked Niamh to tell us how it all came about... 

 

I come from a town just outside of Edinburgh and went to a nice school. My school was famous for getting the best grades in the area, and those stats always meant a lot to them. It was very clear that they focused more on what they’d deem the ‘academic’ subjects. The message my school sent me was that ‘smart pupils go to university, and the dumb ones go to college or do an apprenticeship’.  

 

Have you ever heard something so absurd?

 

Chances are you have, because it’s an age-old way of thinking that is still ingrained in the education institutions that our young people attend. The problem at my school was that no one questioned it. In fact, we all became as judgemental as the teachers, and we were under a huge amount of stress to be ‘academic’ and get the best possible grades. Which is, on one hand, a good thing, but why are young people being made to feel like excelling at ‘less academic’ subjects makes them less ‘clever’ or as ‘successful’?   

 

Enter me. I’m Niamh.

 

A problem solver and creative thinker. I wanted to be in my dream job the quickest way I could. After hearing about Edinburgh College’s fantastic employment rate through my own research (yes, Edinburgh College NOT Edinburgh College of Art), and the fact that students could obtain an HND within 2-3 years, I knew it was the place for me!

As soon as I was in, I was loving it. It was so creative and I was taught practical skills from the get-go. I worked on a number of live briefs through some of the biggest and best Edinburgh-based agencies who were also at my fingertips whenever I needed work experience or just some general advice.  

I couldn’t believe no one had told me about this award-winning course, so when I was given the opportunity to create a campaign to spread the word about the creative industries and getting college to be taken more seriously, I jumped onboard! 

 

Alas, we have the birth of the Creative Takeover (now called Daydream Believers).  

 

Me and my pal Holly chose the schools we were going to do our workshop in and pitched for funding so we could keep the campaign going and employ more Edinburgh college students to spread the word!  

Our first year was a massive success with schools approaching us to go to them next! So, we handed the baton over to 6 fresh students in the year below us. These students carried on until the next year. Now, Daydream Believers has three industry partners: Whitespace, AmazeRealise and Skyscanner. The agencies and schools have worked closely together to spread the word about the creative industries and have given confidence to pupils in telling them that no matter what route they choose to take, they can still succeed.  

The Daydream Believers initiative has been recognised with award nominations! Holly and I were nominated for the Young Scot Award’s Young Person of the Year award in 2018 - and the programme was also partly the reason why I received the SQA Star Award Highly Commended Young Person of the year award. 

 

Now I’m sitting in Whitespace...

 

...as their newest junior designer doing what I love every day, and still getting the opportunity to help pupils to believe in themselves! I never thought that one idea and one passion could have such longevity, and I feel proud to be employed by people who have the same passions and continue to support my idea.

A huge shout-out has to go to Helena Good from Edinburgh College too, who has been the number one cheerleader for the Daydream Believers programme and who has helped us to drive the initiative forward and upwards!

 

Check out the Daydream Believers website here to find out more.