A consortium consisting of leading construction businesses Morgan Sindall Construction, Curtins, Faithful+Gould, Ryder Architecture and Regenda Group is collaborating with Agent Academy CIC to create new employment opportunities for young people across Liverpool City Region. With five years’ experience of securing jobs for young people in the creative and digital sector, creating £2.5 million in annual salaries, Agent Academy will work with the consortium to understand what can be done to encourage more young people to consider careers in construction.

During the three-month project a group of 12 young people will be challenged with finding solutions to the construction sector skills shortage. They will learn from experts in both built environment and marketing, engage in research with other young people from diverse social backgrounds and use the insights they gain to come up with answers to their unique challenge. Every Agent Academy programme is underpinned with a client challenge enabling the young people to put their learning into practice. During this programme, the programme participants will meet with over 40 city leaders as well as hundreds of other young people to bring about their client recommendations.

Recent CITB research shows that there is significant room for improvement regarding young people’s perception of the construction industry as a career option, with it scoring 4.2 out of 10 among 14 to 19 year olds. The research showed that young people’s understanding of what a career in the construction industry entails is based on outdated stereotypes and differs greatly from the reality.

 

Sue Patterson, senior business development manager at Morgan Sindall Construction in the North West, said:

“We regularly visit local schools and run jobs fairs, and often find that many young people are completely unaware of the great variety of career opportunities available in the sector. As an industry, it’s our responsibility to demonstrate the wide variety of fulfilling roles that construction has to offer.

“In order to make construction more sustainable for the future and to boost employment opportunities in the communities in which we work, it’s critical that we demonstrate the great number of careers available to all young people and attract a more diverse workforce in to the sector.

“The work we are undertaking with Agent Academy enables us to take a completely fresh approach to this complex issue by having young people engage with their peers to consider solutions on how to best promote the many fantastic careers that our industry has to offer.”

 

Zoe Wallace, director at Agent Academy, said:

“Agent Academy has a track record tackling the talent challenge faced by the creative and digital industry by giving young people the opportunity to upskill and then kick-start their careers. We hope that this experience together with the insight from our students will give a fresh perspective to how the construction sector can tackle talent issues.

“The young people on this programme will come up with the answers that many construction industry businesses are looking for. 95% of the young people we work with gain full-time industry employment after completing the programme so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

“We have a lot to look forward to, despite the skills challenges faced by our region’s employers there are so many opportunities and by coming up with new ways to engage the regions young people and motivate them we can make sure they are ready to take on the careers of the future.”

 

Ged McNicholl, regional director, Faithful+Gould, added:

“The opportunities in the construction industry are vast. Diversity in the industry is a challenge, but through the research from this project we are determined to change this to make a career in the construction industry appealing to all.

“We are all taking a collaborative and forward-looking approach to solving the challenges faced by the sector and I believe the next generation can play a big part in this, particularly when it comes to bringing new technology and more digital ways of working into the industry.”

Our pioneering partnership with Edge Hill University celebrated its grand finale last week with a dynamic, fast-paced event.  We instigated an energetic conversation around young people, the future and success by utilising the great wisdom of many of our guests. The Edge Hill University students managed the event and welcomed many industry leaders at Agent HQ.

This was the perfect time to reflect on the accomplishments of the group during their 8-week programme. This group of future leaders were brought together in late May.  They hadn’t worked together before but quickly formed a solid team.

On the first day they were presented with a client challenge from Edge Hill University.  The challenge was ‘How can Edge Hill University communicate effectively with prospective students?’ And so it began, a journey of intense training and development.

We learnt from experts in strategy, creative, digital and communications and then applied this learning to the real-life challenge.  The weeks passed by so quickly as we heard from industry expert after industry expert who gave their time, knowledge and encouragement to our promising young people.

Momentum built as the final presentation of our insight got closer and more than ever the team worked hard to analyse the research and draw dynamic recommendations from it.   On Tuesday we presented back to representatives from five of Edge Hill University’s departments.  Our students were engaging and confident and our clients were impressed. It was a huge success!

We’d like to say a huge thank you – to the teams at Edge Hill University for working together with us on this exciting project, to all the experts that dedicated their time to our group and to the students who showed commitment, passion and hard work throughout, we look forward to watching your fantastic careers unfold! Here are some photographs from the event if you missed it!

People often say that having to go first is never easy; but someone has to do it. I was more than happy to be the first person in our group to write a blog about my experience at Agent Academy. Throughout my final year at Edge Hill University, juggling coursework, job applications and interviews, one question has had a permanent residence in the back of my mind, what am I going to do next?

As a Film and Media student, I have broadened and developed my knowledge of these particular subjects. I enjoyed watching films and studying the theory behind them. As a confident user of several social media platforms, I also enjoyed studying key aspects of the media industry and found the combination of these two subjects very interesting. However, I was not entirely sure of the career path that I would take after the conclusion of my course. I learned a lot about the industry from my course and have earned many transferable skills. After completing a module that was based on marketing and communications, I grew an interest in this area of study. I searched for many jobs and graduate positions that were either solely marketing or akin to this. After researching roles, I did not believe that I possessed the experience to step straight into the positions that were available. Enter Agent…

After finding out I was a successful application for the Academy’s programme, I was extremely happy and keen to get started. I was fully aware that there would be other people on the programme who would bear an expansive knowledge of marketing, greater than my own. This intimidated me slightly, as I did not want to be behind everyone. However, I was also aware that there would be others in the same position as me who were keen to observe and learn. This was something that engaged me with the programme. I have not a lot of hands on experience that is applicable to any marketing roles. I was therefore very intrigued by the action based learning that the programme has. I think that this will be extremely beneficial addition to the skills that I have already adhered from my degree. I am also certain that I will be able to nurture and develop these skills and start to see my ideal career path unfold.

Walking into the office on day one, I was instantly put at ease by the friendliness and the sense of community that the space boasts. I enjoyed meeting the Agent Marketing team and learning about the foundations of their career and how they got where they were today. These talks were very influential and have encouraged me to make sure that I make the most of this opportunity that I have been fortunate enough to experience.

With the skills and experience that I acquire through this programme, I hope to eventually succeed in a role that I know I am fully capable of handling, and encourage others around me to do the same.

2016 International Women’s Day campaign theme is #PledgeforParity – taking action for gender equality.

At Agent we wanted to stimulate a positive conversation around women, success and the future by hosting an event, bringing together young women from our schools and universities with leading women from many industries across Liverpool city region.

There was no plan for how the conversation would play out, this was about successful women sharing something from their experience, a gift to the future. We enjoyed a vibrant, warm and dynamic atmosphere punctuated by inspirational short speeches and unbelievably beautiful music from Deana of Rare Studios.

The words spoken were honest, clear and bold. The young women were inspired, motivated and empowered by what they heard.

It was a significant and special event and I wanted to capture its essence, so with special thanks to all the women who contributed I have compiled a list.

16 for 2016; wisdom to your younger self.

1.Find out who you are and then be yourself.
2.The qualities some may see as your weakness as a woman are actually what makes you very, very strong.
3.If you want to do something or follow a dream, just do it, no questions asked.
4.Be kind to other women, offer a hand.
5.Be afraid but do it anyway, overcoming fear will become your greatest strength.
6.If you don’t feel good enough you need to fake it until you make it, you will make it.
7.Create your own story and then share it with others.
8.Don’t tell yourself it can’t be done, there are enough critics out there, silence the negative voices.
9.Determination is everything.
10.Surround yourself with good people, people that you can trust.
11.Have your core intention and remind yourself of it often, it will keep you on track.
12.Your path might change and that’s perfectly fine.
13.Continue to fill your life with things that create value and bring you happiness.
14.You may become a mother, you may have to balance many aspects of life, don’t let anyone make you feel that you’re not doing the best job.
15.Take the opportunities that come along, even in the most turbulent circumstances great things can be achieved.
16.Make hay while the sun shines. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, tomorrow it might be raining or too late.

2016 International Women’s Day campaign theme is #PledgeforParity – taking action for gender equality.

At Agent we wanted to stimulate a positive conversation around women, success and the future by hosting an event, bringing together young women from our schools and universities with leading women from many industries across Liverpool city region.

There was no plan for how the conversation would play out, this was about successful women sharing something from their experience, a gift to the future.

We enjoyed a vibrant, warm and dynamic atmosphere punctuated by inspirational short speeches and unbelievably beautiful music from Deana of Rare Studios. The words spoken were honest, clear and bold.  The young women were inspired, motivated and empowered by what they heard.

It was a significant and special event and I wanted to capture its essence, so with special thanks to all the women who contributed I have compiled a list. 16 for 2016; wisdom for your younger self.

1.Find out who you are and then be yourself.

2.The qualities some may see as your weakness as a woman are actually what makes you very, very strong.

3.If you want to do something or follow a dream, just do it, no questions asked.

4.Be kind to other women, offer a hand.

5.Be afraid but do it anyway, overcoming fear will become your greatest strength.

6.If you don’t feel good enough you need to fake it until you make it, you will make it.

7.Create your own story and then share it with others.

8.Don’t tell yourself it can’t be done, there are enough critics out there, silence the negative voices.

9.Determination is everything.

10.Surround yourself with good people, people that you can trust.

11.Have your core intention and remind yourself of it often, it will keep you on track.

12.Your path might change and that’s perfectly fine.

13.Continue to fill your life with things that create value and bring you happiness.

14.You may become a mother, you may have to balance many aspects of life, don’t let anyone make you feel that you’re not doing the best job.

15.Take the opportunities that come along, even in the most turbulent circumstances great things can be achieved.

16.Make hay while the sun shines.  Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, tomorrow it might be raining or too late.

British pop sensation, Take That, are known for a lot of things but profound lyrics isn’t one of them.   Yet after a week of working to understand and reflect on the nature of changing behaviours I find that the 90’s number one hit single prompts an interesting question.

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Why in a world that is ever changing, working in environments that are ever evolving, are we all so stuck in our ways?

I have been working with a group of students from Rainford High Sixth Form, teaching them about the principals of behaviour change marketing. We have a challenge ‘to stop students littering in and around the school.’

As we explore the motivations of students who litter we are finding that it is not as straightforward as we might have first perceived. We are faced with a complex issue but by employing a behaviour change model and basing everything we do on research I am confident that the students will identify some innovative and creative solutions to a problem that has, for a long time, been the bugbear of staff at the school.

Supporting us on our quest to understand and change behaviours are experts in this field. This week we visited Can Cook Studio and were privileged to have an enlightening talk from Robbie and Laura. We witnessed first-hand how changing behaviours is no mean feat.

We were so grateful to be involved in a blind taste test experiment; tasting one dish of mass produced, processed food and then it’s home-made, fresh food equivalent. We all voted on the dish we preferred, the results were surprising. Some of the students actually preferred the salty taste of the mass produced option. An example of this was Calum, who found the pre-packed sausage and mash (aka smash) to be his preferred banger.

After the experiment we explored why these conclusions were reached, we had a chance to educate ourselves on the ingredients in the prepacked dishes. Calum may like the flavour of the inferior product and its soft texture but on inspection of its ingredients does he know what Beef Collagen Casing or Maltodextrin is?

Our session with Can Cook was a great way for us to understand first-hand the nature of behaviour change as we were engaged in a campaign activity which was designed to change ours.

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We are just over half way through our behaviour change marketing programme and here are some of the things the students have learnt along the way:

‘Sometimes facts aren’t enough, you need to show rather than tell’ Alisha, Year 12.

‘The shock factor is a good way to get people’s attention but rarely has a long-term impact.’ Misha, Year 13.

‘Tell a story. It brings a subject to life and people remember and share stories.’ Alana, Year 12.

‘People learn in different ways, a staggering statistic is sometimes the thing that sticks with us.’ Calum, Year 12.

‘Education is powerful but the psychology of change is more complex than simply knowing.’ James, Year 12.

‘Change takes time, it won’t happen instantly, but lots of triggers over time can effect change in behaviours.’ Matthew, Year 12.

We are looking forward to sharing the results of our behaviour change campaign later in the year!

Picture the scene: it’s early October 2015 and 11 young marketing enthusiasts with high expectations begin a bespoke marketing programme for the next 12 weeks. Then, fast forward to the 28th of January and their own graduation, where famous Liverpool business leaders showed up to Agent HQ to show their tremendous support.

It was a rollercoaster twelve weeks and we’re lucky to have had all the opportunities that were given to us: from going out on various locations and meeting fantastic speakers, to working in Agent HQ, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience. Between week 1 and week 12, there was a lot of passionate work that each and every one of the cohort took part in, and in the end we came up with a final project that was received really well by both the public and our programme sponsor, One Ark.

We spent a lot of time planning our graduation to make sure everything went smoothly, all under the leadership of the brilliant Zoe Wallace, head of Agent Academy CIC. After a busy week of planning and a busy day of preparing, we were finally ready to open our doors.

The turnout was spectacular. Local business leaders such as Carl Wood, MD of Trinity Mirror North West, Health Canada Pharmacy, Andrew Cornish, Chief executive of Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Frances Molloy, Chief executive of Health@Work, all turned up to see the work that had been produced and show their support. This was a fantastic opportunity for the cohort, not just for networking, but also to understand just how seriously Liverpool business leaders take their social responsibility and their ongoing efforts to give back to the community.

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Andrew Cornish, Frances Molloy, Paul Corcoran and Carl Wood 

Not only did we have some fantastic guests, but also some brilliant speakers. Kerry Cullen, manager of One Ark – the programme’s sponsor – gave an inspiring talk about the work we had been doing together to tackle youth unemployment. Zoe also stood up and addressed the crowd on how proud of us she was, and how she intended to keep pushing forward with Agent Academy and expanding it. Me and other members of the cohort also spoke about how we had found Agent Academy, how we had changed over the past twelve weeks and how grateful we were for all the business leaders and experts who had taken the time to give us expert guidance.

For us, the highlight had to be reporting back our findings back to the guests, giving them a real insight in to what we accomplished in the 12 weeks. Laura and Will took on the job of doing this, and did with gusto, with everyone in the audience captivated by what we had produced.

But now that the end has come for the 3rd cohort, it leaves the door open for the 4th cohort to start where the former left off. All we know is whoever gets selected for the 4th programme are a lucky bunch of people, whose lives will change for the better indefinitely. And remember applications are open!

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Academy Cohort 3, I would like to take you back to where it all began.

On day one of Agent Academy, myself and 10 fellow team members were asked what we hoped to gain from the twelve-week programme. My answer? ‘to understand what it takes to be a part of a value led organization, like Agent Marketing.’

The past twelve weeks at Agent Academy have been a fantastic experience, exceeding all expectations. It has been incredible to work alongside such a talented team and proudly present our final piece of work to One Ark on Wednesday.

For me, the highlight of my time at the academy has been the opportunity to hear from a range of inspiring speakers, each week. You can see from our tweets here at Agent Academy that we love our quotes, so I thought I would mention a few which have stuck with me!

Paul Corcoran, Managing Director of Agent Marketing – ‘Trust your own ability, and always remember to pay it forward!’ Bernie Hollywood OBE, Philanthropist – ‘Be ruthless with time and gracious with people’’.

Hannah Shannon, Head of Communications at Claire House- ‘The reason I do what I do? Each night I come home and feel I have made a difference.’

Looking back, each speaker we have listened to over the past twelve weeks, shares a common attribute. They are all motivated and driven by the idea of ‘giving back’. I have certainly achieved what I hoped to initially gain from the programme; the understanding that this ‘giving back’ ethos is not only one of the driving forces behind Agent Marketing but also shared by many businesses, leaders and organisations across the city.

So on behalf of my fellow Agent Academy graduates I would like to give a big thank you to all of those who have ‘given back’ to us over the past twelve weeks!

Our final days at Agent saw myself and fellow graduates add a new career goal to our lists. We hope that in future years we can come back to Agent Academy and share our own career experiences, knowledge and insight with a future generation of business leaders who are just starting out. We can’t wait to get there and ‘give back’ with gratitude for the many who helped us on our way!

We might be at the end of our Academy journey but for all of us, this is just the beginning.

by Georgina Potts.

It’s January, the month of moderation, restraint and abstinence but while the majority focus on giving up we say why not give instead?

A very direct road to personal happiness is to help others. Altruistic actions creates a feel-good chain reaction not least experienced by the person doing the giving. Taking time out to give something and help another will have more benefits than you could imagine. Have a look at my earlier blog for the scientific proof.

We thought we’d start the trend of giving by sharing with you our list of inspirational ideas to lift those January blues:

  1. Help out at a local homeless charity.  In Liverpool the Whitechapel Centre offers volunteers lots of opportunities to get involved.
  2. Be an Agent Academy contributor.  If you’re a leader you could share your experience and wisdom with our Agent Academy young people, it’s much appreciated and unbelievably rewarding. Just get in touch.
  3. Become a shared reading group volunteer.  You could assist and facilitate reading groups for older people in various locations throughout the country with The Reader Organisation.
  4. Even your dog or cat can benefit from volunteering with you.  As a Pets as Therapy volunteer you get to take your dog or cat on arranged visits to people who are feeling isolated and would benefit from spending time with a loving pet.
  5. Be a ‘Newborn Knitter’ Take some time to make premature baby clothing for the Premature Baby Campaign by Black Sheep Wools. All the garments donated will be sold at Liverpool Women’s Hospital to raise funds for The Newborn Appeal that funds the specialist equipment on the Neonatal unit at the hospital.
  6. Be there for the older generation.  There are so many ways that you can dedicate some time and help improve an older person’s life.  Find UK wide opportunities here.
  7. Support for young people who are struggling is a much needed resource. There are many ways to get involved with helping young people with the Princes Trust throughout the UK.
  8. If you are really stuck for time then try Micro-Volunteering.  These are actions you can take from the comfort of your own living room, sometimes dedicating less than 30 minutes to a good cause. Check out Help from Home.
  9. Or you might want to get involved in something really life changing? How about helping kids escape poverty in Africa through education, take a look at grassroots charity Memusi Foundation.
  10. Finally, don’t forget to be kind to yourself this January. 2016 is set to be a brilliant year, be prepared!

Have you had an Agent Academy encounter this year?

You may be one of the talented young people who has worked hard with our Agent experts to deliver industry standard marketing.  Or an inspirational leader who has given your valuable time to encourage and inspire our group to achieve their biggest dreams.  You might be one of our incredible sponsor clients who has invested in a group of young people, giving them access to unique opportunities that will be pivotal to their future careers. You could be one of our partner or support organisations who have supported our vision and helped us to connect with many people across the city region.  You may have been a judge that concluded Agent Academy CIC was The Best Not for Profit Organisation at FSB Liverpool awards this year. You may be a Twitter follower, blog reader, fan, friend or friend of a friend, who has laughed, enjoyed and shared our social posts.

rainford

Whoever you are we want to say thank you.  Your contribution has been invaluable.  Only by working together with all of you can Agent Academy go on to create real social value, change lives and contribute positively to the growth and development of the city.

We are so proud that our Agent Academy students, who have been part of the One Ark programme, are already securing employment in marketing roles.  They have had over 40 inspirational leaders speak to them so far and have more to come in 2016.  We are also proud to have worked with some brilliant young people at Rainford College, who have proven to be hard working, driven and aspirational in their approach.  Their presentation to senior leaders at Rainford High last week was industry standard. We are looking forward to working closely with Rainford College again next year.

We couldn’t be happier to be ending 2015 as an Award Winning social business.  And we certainly couldn’t have done it without all of you.

Have a great Christmas and be prepared… 2016 has brilliant things in store for us all!

claire house