Rock Kitchen Harris (RKH), one of the leading full-service agencies in the East Midlands, will work with De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to encourage diversity in the creative industry and help more students find work.
This coalition of industrial programs is the first of its kind at DMU and will see close collaboration with the Leicester-based company RKH and David Gordon, program manager and associate professor of marketing at the university, to ensure that new practices and influences in the world of advertising and public relations are reflected in the MSc in Advertising and Relationship Management public services of DMU.
RKH provides advertising, public relations, digital and design services to a wide range of clients and will directly feed the teaching of the course program from the start of the 2021 academic year. Students will benefit from a overview of the work of RKH’s clientele, which includes leading home builder Taylor Wimpey, Vision Express, Twycross Zoo and the Open University, as well as guest lectures by senior agency staff. The RKH team will also provide expert input in all modules of the MSc.
Jamie Mollart, director of client services and strategy and one of the co-owners of RKH, believes the partnership will provide students with valuable industry experience.
He said: “Overall, I have seen a disconnect between students and the advertising and public relations industry. Academia is great for giving students a theoretical foundation for the type of work we do, but nothing can replace real hands-on experience.
“The pace of the industry and the complexity of the files can come as a shock to some graduates and we think it’s really important that they have the chance to experience what a job looks like in our industry. By sharing live briefs from our own clients, we hope that students gain a valuable understanding of delivering concepts and ideas on time to help strengthen their portfolio and come up with prepared interviews with more experience. .
“We hope to show students that they don’t have to leave Leicester and go to London to work in a creative agency. There are plenty of opportunities to work with well-known national brands in the Midlands and Leicester is an exciting place to start a career. “
Jamie is also keen to shine a light on Leicester’s multicultural heritage and what students of diverse ethnic backgrounds have to offer to the advertising and public relations industry.
According to a 2020 Marketing Week survey, 88 percent of the 3,883 people surveyed working in UK advertising, marketing or public relations were Caucasian, with 82 percent of all marketers identifying themselves as middle class.
Mohit Hira, a recent DMU graduate, who took the Masters course in Advertising and Public Relations Management last year, has already landed a graduate position, but for Jamie, the hands-on experience the partnership offers can open doors to more students.
Jamie said. “The advertising and public relations industries are still very white, middle class. We are based in one of the most multicultural cities in the UK and although I can see it in the amphitheater when I visit DMU, this diversity is not currently reflected in the candidates we see.
“Not only do we want to retain talent in Leicester, but more broadly we want to see a more diverse talent pool in the creative sector. There is no easy solution to this problem, but we need to give people from all walks of life more hands-on industry experience. I am delighted that RKH can provide this opportunity for DMU students and hope that our partnership can help encourage more diversity in our industry in Leicester at least.
RKH has a long-standing relationship with DMU and has worked with the university’s marketing department for many years. This new partnership was imagined by David Gordon.
He said: “Over the years our relationship with Rock Kitchen Harris has really blossomed. Our students have benefited from their knowledge through guest lectures and internships, but this combined course structure will provide hands-on experience alongside our strong theoretical foundation.
“By formalizing this relationship between our two institutions, we can provide our students with an additional layer of input in job applications and interviews. They will show future employers that they have not only learned and received the latest marketing and public relations materials, but also applied this knowledge to a very real industry situation.
Posted on Wednesday, October 6, 2021