A fortnight with the future riders

Posted by: Jess Chambers - 15.03.24

There’s a big demand for entry-level candidates armed with real-life industry experience in our industry. Here at Ride Shotgun, we get it. Without stand-out young talent, the industry faces challenges. That’s why we offer paid placements to students eager to step into the creative industry. 

In collaboration with Leeds Arts University, Senior Copywriter Ellen Jackson, led a great initiative last year. She invited some students from the Leeds Arts University BA (Hons) Creative Advertising course to our Leeds studio for a hands-on challenge.

They tackled a HSBC campaign brief and pitched their concepts to our creative team, with winners Millie Addinall and Maia Johnston winning a two week paid placement. Fast forward to January 2024 and the pair became honorary members of Ride Shotgun.

Working across our Leeds and Sheffield studios, we gave them a deep dive into the industry’s diverse career paths. This wasn’t an old hat sit-in-the-corner-and-occasionally-make-brews experience. They worked with strategy, marketing and creative on genuine briefs, then get up close with everyone from client services to studio production to our styling team for a Q&A. 

Sounds like a whirlwind two weeks, doesn’t it? Check out their reel, sharing their experience in their own words.

At the end of their placement, we caught up with our dynamic duo and found out: was it a match made in creative heaven or a baptism by fire?


Hi Millie and Maia. So, how’ve these last couple of weeks been? 

They’ve just been amazing, they’ve flown by. Looking back, the journey has been full of excitement and inspiration. We’ve been completely blown away with how much time and effort you guys have put into this experience for us.


Which part of the placement did you find most interesting or surprising?

Our production brief with Jess Yates (Senior Art Director). It was completely new to us. Working with camera equipment and getting the opportunity to go on set was out of our comfort zone but we fell in love with it. It gave us such a buzz to see our work turn into something physical and has given us another option for our career paths.


Did you have any ‘Eureka’ moments?

We had many Eureka moments. We think just seeing things come to life and realising what goes on behind the scenes that you don’t usually get to see is truly amazing. That was the thing we appreciated the most with this placement, we got shown so many different jobs within the industry that we didn’t even know existed.

What were your biggest challenges – apart from finding your way round our studios? 

I wouldn’t say we had any challenges, but I think we were shown what a full working week was like in the real world. We can definitely say our brains had exploded by the end of it!


Tackling a real-life campaign must’ve been scary! What was the trickiest part and how did you guys conquer it?

We think at the heart of all briefs there is a problem to solve in a creative way. We made sure we really understood the brief first and  put it into everything we did. Having conversations with strategists and other members of the Sheffield team really helped push our way of thinking. It was really interesting to tackle something we knew was real and just to have people in the office working on the same brief was really helpful, as we could get advice and direction by just popping our heads around.


Did you receive any golden nuggets of wisdom from your mentoring?

We were given such good advice by everyone in the team it’s hard to pick one, but I would say we were shown that your career doesn’t have to be boring! If you have a passion, turn it into your job. There’s nothing stopping you.


What’s the game plan from here on out? Has this experience shaped your future in any way?

The placement has done so much for the both of us, we have learned so many lessons that we’ll take with us into the industry. Our plan is to finish our degree and get on the hunt! And of course, to visit you guys again too.


And lastly, let’s get a bit reflective. How do you think you’ve grown from this, both in your personal and professional life?

We left the experience with such a buzz and the clarification that this is definitely the career we’re wanting to head into. We feel more confident in our work after all we’ve learned and the people we’ve met.


Partner With Us

Are you part of a college or university interested in partnering with us? We’re looking to launch an official apprenticeship and graduate programme from September 2024. 

Drop us a line and get in touch.