Senior Creative Neil Ritson, reflects on the impact the last year has had on budding creatives' chances in the industry, and what nuggets of wisdom he could share from his time as a creative.

At the start of the year, after some time off over Christmas and some time to reflect on the year that everyone would rather forget, I was wondering about which age group had it worst during all of this?! You can make a case for every age group to be honest, but my personal feeling is that the younger generation have got it the worst.

Young children’s education, not able to see their friends, the people in university and college and the graduates coming out of university as this is all unfolding. What does the future look like for them? I know personally after uni, it was a lot to take in and that was without the Pandemic.

With that in mind, I started thinking about how I could offer any help. As Tesco said, ‘Every little helps’, so I decided I’d offer my help and advice out to people, be it portfolio reviews, advice on the industry or just answer any questions they might have. I put a post out on LinkedIn offering book crits and advice for budding creative folk, the response was pretty overwhelming, and I booked in various students and grads throughout the week.

Then, one of my old tutors dropped into my inbox and asked if I would be up for chatting to the course leaders about industry and their course syllabus and what stuff they are doing, obviously I said yes. After a Teams call I was then asked if I would do a talk to all of the students at Newcastle Northern Art school about my career and answer questions about how I got into the industry and give some insight into the creative world. For anybody that knows me, talks and presentations aren’t at the top of my list of things I love to do, but I felt I it was the least I could do, so I said, “Yeh of course”.

I set about pulling a presentation together which gave an insight into my history of working in the industry, going right back to my school days and how my career unfolded. With a smattering of work I’ve done over the years to give them an idea of what a ‘Creative’ or an ‘Art Director’ looks like. It was all wrapped up with a mantra I try to live by to keep myself creative in my career. Finally, I set them a 48 hour brief for me to check back in with the tutors to see how they got on.

I must admit, it was quite strange doing a talk on a video call and delivering LOLZ here and there to have absolutely no idea if any of it was landing. Also, I was contending with Holly & Phil on This Morning as it kicked off at 10 a.m, chances are, they were in bed watching that and not me! But hey…at least I am doing my bit!

I’m hoping these little acts of kindness and my time lands with even just one of the grads or students.