The face of media and design: Schools that are future-proofing creative careers

July 25, 2022

Jayde Robertson

If you’ve been following our blog, you would have been privy to the launch of our disruptive and innovative educational institution series. This is a series that we value greatly, and its core mission is to shine a light on industry-leading, and positively disruptive education companies and institutions. With a focus on technology and innovation in education, combined with creative teaching methods, this series aims to highlight the institutions that are disrupting higher education. If you’re an education company, institution, or school - and you believe that you’re a pioneer, a changemaker, or a disruptor, then we want to feature you! Submit your contributions here to feature in one of our next articles.

These are businesses that lead the way in terms of innovation, social impact, and community upliftment. On a global scale, they are empowering their students via education. These are the businesses that make us pleased to work in this field. Almost everyone agrees that the typical educational system is out of date. Pink Orange's goal is to assist forward-thinking institutions in growing because they are the ones who are educating and empowering a new generation of purpose-driven leaders.

As a follow-up to our article featuring some of the most innovative and diverse Challenger institutions, we’re excited to introduce you to the world of Media and Design Schools! These schools exist to disrupt the status quo, to reshape the way that creative, advertising, or tech careers are viewed - offering end-to-end solutions and opportunities to its students.

Here we feature 3 institutions that are each in their own right, reshaping the future for the next generation of creatives.

“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”

It’s 2022 - and the digital economy is booming. The pandemic has given rise to a new set of needs for businesses, one of which is a new (and heavy) reliance on their online presence. Innovation in the digital world continues to facilitate exposure and job opportunities for the future. Creative careers are on the rise, and designers are fast becoming an integral part of almost every industry.

Many people dream of pursuing a career in the creative industry, and choosing design as a career is an option that provides a myriad of opportunities to the up-and-coming designer. We all know that GenZ is fundamentally different from the rest. Their motivations are intrinsic, and their focus is on more than just financial gain. In fact, according to a study by Ryan Jenkins - a staggering 46% of GenZ students claim that they would choose a career based on passion, instead of immediate financial gain. A further 64% cited an opportunity for career growth as a priority - while only 3% listed an ‘impressive job title’ as a motivating factor.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the top of the list for GenZ students. Luckily for this generation - there are schools that share these values and propositions; and if you know anything about GenZ, you’ll know that shared values are one of the most important qualities that they look for. Without further ado, let's introduce you to the movers and shakers of the media and design industry.

Brixton Finishing School - Disrupting Creative Recruitment

On a global scale, media and marketing set cultural norms. They are the ones responsible for shaping perceptions, telling stories, and influencing our expansive view of the world. This includes perceptions - and misconceptions of beauty. Stereotypes. Most importantly - what success looks like. Now, more than ever - it is crucial that talents from all backgrounds and communities are given a voice, and represented within the growing industry. Not only this - but the global pandemic has effectively decimated the future of the youth, serving as a barrier before they even enter the workforce. It’s more critical than ever to support, guide, and mentor the youth through positive and inclusive educational experiences.  

Say hello to Brixton Finishing School - an institution that is driving inclusion through the creation of alternative pathways to entering the advertising, media, marketing, and digital industries - so that talent can be a part of it.

Brixton Finishing School is an employment equity program that creates award-winning employability programs that help young people break into the creative, advertising, marketing, and tech industries.  Its mission is to disrupt the way the creative industries recruit and develop the employability of underrepresented talent, helping them to kick down the door to the creative, advertising, marketing, and digital industries.

Boasting a 90% post-graduation employment rate, Brixton’s curriculum and courses aim to instill the technical skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the industry such as critical and creative thinking and digital skills. This is done through masterclasses that are developed and delivered by their partner organizations. These are world-leading creative and media agencies, brands, media owners, and AD-tech companies.  

Part of Brixton’s approach to its curriculum is its aim to develop and employ ‘winning at work behaviors’ within its students - all to ensure that its graduates stand the best possible chance at post-graduation employment. This is done through a supportive and collaborative environment, where students are encouraged to develop their network of industry experts - as well as providing mentoring, coaching, and interactive training workshops. Topics range from day-to-day tasks such as diary management to soft skills such as effective idea presentation.

Students who participate in Brixton Finishing School and their AD-Celerate ‘employment boot camp’ weeks also get the opportunity to respond to briefs set by their partner organizations to put into practice the skills they develop during the sessions.        

“We designed the curriculum with one thing in mind: employability. We asked industry leaders what they felt graduates needed to succeed, and built the course around that. By inviting the same industry leaders to contribute the content, we’ve ensured that the knowledge students gain gives them the best chance of getting a placement. The courses cover the advertising, marketing, and media/tech industries past, present and future, dives into key issues around diversity and inclusion and zoom into all of the main roles before exploring some of the best work and why it works”- Lachlan Williams: Strategist, Teacher, and Developer of Brixton Finishing School’s curriculum

Brixton Finishing School has achieved major success in creating employable talent. In 2019, the institution had a 95% employment rate for its graduates, and despite the pandemic, it managed to achieve 90% employment in 2020. In 2021, the school contributed to the placement of over 70 individuals across Brixton Finishing School and The AD-Cademy.

Brixton delivers diverse talent to fuel a company’s competitive advantage as more diverse teams produce better returns. Different types of thinking mean new perspectives, fresh ideas, and better advertising/creative work. The school offers a FREE 10-week program for 18-25 years olds which delivers a premium learning experience for its students through a strategic combination of theory-based lessons and real-world advertising experience.

Founded by Ally Owen, a digital leader with more than 25 years of experience; Brixton boasts a blended learning program focussing on real-world experiences, expert masterclasses, and the skills needed to ‘win at work’. With 3 courses to choose from, including a 10-week program designed to future-proof your design career, Ad-Cademy, a free online course developed to give under-represented talent a means to enter the industry (launched in response to the plight induced by the pandemic), and VisibleStart - a joint effort to offer a free online course alongside live events that aims to teach the basics of digital media - giving its students the confidence to pursue their dream career - Brixton is making waves in the world of digital advertising education.

In line with their objectives and values, Brixton offers continued support to its graduates from industry mentors, as well as Brixton’s staff. They also pride themselves on offering food and travel bursaries - as well as additional grants that are available upon acceptance.

Before starting the BFS course I didn’t have a clue about the roles on offer in the advertising industry. It felt like a ‘secret society’ that was open to only a select few. But, the insightful immersion days at BFS taught me so much, whether it be about the roles or what it takes to succeed in this growing industry.- Luca - Brixton Finishing School graduate

In 2021, Brixton spearheaded a new outreach program, ADventure, to diversify the talent pipeline at a crucial stage when young people consider their career choices.

With the goal of reaching 100k schoolchildren aged between 14 and 18 from under-represented backgrounds in its pilot year, the initiative will see Brixton Finishing School alumni, members of the Common People network, and industry supporters return to their schools to deliver an assembly highlighting the various roles within the industry, from copywriters and creators to digital media executives and programmatic executives, many of which do not need a degree to succeed in. Conceived by Brixton Finishing School’s non-executive director and writer-in-residence Yasmin Arrigo, the project is based on insights given by Brixton graduates over the past few years: “Each year, our students tell us that they wished they’d known about the industry when they were at school. We want to kickstart that awareness early, at a point when young people first start to consider their career choices, and to highlight how multi-faceted this dynamic industry is. Whether you’re the class chatterbox always being told to be quiet, or a secret mathlete, whatever you’re into, wherever your passions lie, there’s a job for you.”

“Rewiring our future talent pipeline is an urgent (and long-term) project. ADventure is the first step on this new pathway and is designed to support dismantling inequitable legacy routes. By building out a ‘family’ of programs designed to deliver access based on merit, Brixton Finishing School aims to rewrite the talent blueprint for the industry so it’s representative of the consumers it serves.” - Ally Owen - Founder of Brixton Finishing School

If you’re interested in learning more about Brixton Finishing School, or how you can support their initiatives, visit them here!

Shillington - Design Education with Passion and Purpose

Graphic design is more than a career - it’s a lifestyle. Digital graphic design is the fastest-growing segment of the graphic design industry. This will become more prevalent as businesses move away from print advertising and publication and toward digital and online marketing. Demand for social graphic assets for visual sharing platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest is also on the rise. This gives up a lot of potential for graphic design freelancers. Everyone, not just established enterprises, wants quality visual design elements for stories, blogs, and business pages, among other things. In addition, the introduction of virtual reality and UI/UX has resulted in a huge surge in graphic design. As we become increasingly reliant on technology in everyday situations, this specialist area will continue to expand.

Choosing a career as a designer takes more than just a desire - it requires a school that matches a student's passion; but also provides a platform and community for growth, both personal and professional.

Enter - Shillington Education.  

Shillington has designed their course to provide anyone with a solid foundation of design theory, technical abilities, and an exceptional design portfolio, regardless of previous experience. As pioneers of the Bootcamp design education space, Shillington's aim is to create an inspirational learning environment and teach relevant industry skills to give its graduates the best possible chance of employment - effectively future-proofing their careers. The school, currently in its 26th year of successful operation, boasts an intensive, fast-paced, and industry-focussed design course. They offer both 3 months full-time, and 9-month part-time courses - online, and on their campuses, located in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

With a focus on the practical application of its courses, Shillington prides itself on maintaining “short and sweet” lectures, covering everything from design principles to branding, UI/UX, typography, and more. This structure allows students the time that they need to put their newfound knowledge to practice, developing their eye for compelling design. Each student, regardless of the course they choose will complete more than 30 briefs before completing the course.

“Shillington allowed me to jump back into the creative career I started at uni. It helped me refine my computer and design skills, and gave me the confidence and a good folio to apply for jobs as an Art Director.” - Emily Somers, Art Director,  Founder of Bravery Co. and Shillington graduate

With a focus on practicality and industry experience, Shillington boasts a faculty of practicing,  passionate, and experienced design professionals from a variety of backgrounds, including illustration, typography, and digital design. Shillington educators focus on the experience they’re providing their students - and quickly become mentors, guiding their students through mastering the design process, software, and intricacies - enabling them to graduate with a portfolio of excellent work.

Shillington is a world-renowned graphic design Bootcamp - and their graduates agree! Graduating students leave with everything they need to pursue their creative careers, from practical experience to industry advice and insight - with no prior training required to succeed.

From technical skills across Adobe and Figma, and design theory - to developing the confidence (and portfolio) that will shape your next career move, Shillington is the smart choice for those looking to pursue a career in design.

Each Shillington class enjoys a minimum of two industry guest lectures from leading designers and creatives - those who absolutely know what they’re talking about! These experts share their work, philosophies, and invaluable advice with aspiring designers - imparting invaluable wisdom along the way. Shillington has hosted some of the world’s top creatives and agencies, including FutureBrand and Bob Gill!

Shillington graduates leave armed with more than just the technical knowledge and ability required to succeed as future creators, but also a sound understanding of the project process and industry best practices.
To learn more about Shillington, or to apply to become the next best designer, visit them here!

The New School - The University That Reimagines The Future

In 1919, a group of visionaries set out to create a new and improved educational paradigm, one that gave students the intellectual and creative freedom to address the most important concerns of the day. Since then, some of society’s brightest minds have pioneered courses in burgeoning fields of academic research, attracting students and professors from all over the world. This is where the New School takes the lead. With an ambitious mission to adequately prepare students to understand, contribute to, and succeed in a fast-paced and evolving society - The New School aims to reshape society through its graduates.  As a university where design and social research drive approaches to studying issues of our time, it seeks to provide its students with the tools needed to grapple with complex problems facing society and to pursue more fluid and flexible career pathways. Their programs have been designed to ensure that students develop both the skills and the core competencies required to succeed as leaders in the emerging creative economy. As a university where design and social research drive the approach to study current issues - The New School aims to be the preeminent intellectual and creative center for effective engagement in a world that so highly demands it.

With an educational approach driven by its vision and values, The New School extends its legacy as a nontraditional university and community. The laser targetted focus ensures high engagement in response to critical issues while prioritizing both humanity and culture in their systems and curriculum design. Taking full advantage of the New York City location and the connectivity that it provides to urban centers, The New School places a collaborative approach and project-based learning at the heart of its educational experience.

The leadership of the New School sets the tone for the university's academic, intellectual, and artistic endeavors. The university's leaders are dedicated to excellence in all fields, ensuring that as an institution, they adapt and respond to current concerns, maintain an inclusive community, and encourage students to challenge convention via scholarship and creative exploration. Its administration has exhibited a continuous commitment to bringing together students, staff, and professors who reflect society's diversity of ideas and identities by establishing the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice. This initiative has helped to enhance equity on campus.

Their multifaceted academic programs liberate students from traditional constraints, allowing them to study in detail from a variety of angles. As a New School student, you will have the opportunity to take classes from many colleges and disciplines, as well as immerse yourself in a variety of fields of study pertaining to your areas of interest. The advantages of academic independence are immeasurable. Students will grow intellectually and creatively, expand their problem-solving ability, and become prepared to change a complicated world if they go beyond typical academic paths. Through seminar-style and project-based learning, critical thinking abilities will be strengthened as you prototype new ideas and gain direct experience. The New School’s rigorous academic approach extends beyond gaining intellectual knowledge to assist its students in discovering and realizing their passion and vision.

Their illustrious professors regularly collaborate with pupils, improving their education. They are thought leaders and practitioners in their professions, bringing to the classroom scholarship, experience, and collaboration. They offer career advice to students and urge them to join their projects or assist them in creating their own.

With 126 creative degree programs to choose from, across 7 partner schools, The New School boasts a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring that each student receives a personalized and immersive learning experience. The Innovative School is the only institution in the world where a world-renowned design school, a progressive liberal arts college, a prestigious performing arts college, and iconic graduate programs and schools collaborate to find new ways to make the world more just, attractive, and well-designed. From undergraduate and graduate programs to adult and online learning, The New School prides itself on its diverse offerings, encompassing its value proposition.

To learn more about The New School, or to apply for one of its programs - visit them here.  

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