“SCA made me look at the world differently”
I nearly got kicked out of school at 15. But I turned it around. I went to college and then onto uni to study Graphic Design. On my first design placement, I learnt about advertising and the concept of creative teams. From this, I realised that I wanted to be thinking of ideas, rather than making other people’s ideas look pretty.
So, I started looking into how to get into advertising online. I looked at Masters in advertising at university, and the likes of Miami Ad School but felt they were too far away, or the courses were too long. Going to uni again would also mean I’d have to give up my council flat and that was a risk I couldn’t take. Then, I came across SCA but dismissed it at first because of how difficult I’d heard it was to get in.
I was working with kids with autism at the time, and I was striving to make a difference to people. I realised that if I didn’t take a punt and apply for SCA then I’d likely be in the care industry forever and I aspired to be more. I was starstruck by the agencies and people that SCA worked with, no other higher education setting had that talent supporting them.
So, I applied and was fortunate enough to be offered a scholarship to attend. In my first few weeks at SCA, I was scared. I’ve never been good in new environments with new people but it was so easy because I was surrounded by like minded people. For the first time I felt I had found my people and my path.
What I learnt very quickly about SCA, compared to other education settings, is that it isn’t an ‘us’ and ‘them’ place. It’s a community, a family. Where you’re not just a number, you’re a human being. Mentors and staff don’t treat you like a student, they treat you like a mate, a real person. It allows for better relationships, confidence and self belief.
I feel so fortunate for my time at the school, it made me look at the world differently. I had struggles with personal issues and they supported me through them. I’m not sure how I could ever show how much I respect and love I have for SCA for that. I met amazing people and friends for life, both mentors and other students. SCA gets you noticed.
I had so many low moments, but I also had the support and contacts there to help me. Whether it was mental health, money issues or just general lack of self belief. Working with the SCA office ladies and Marc, I was thrown into a state of self belief. They believed in me and when people do that, you end up believing in yourself.
If you’re thinking about a career as a creative and considering applying to SCA, just be yourself. Get vulnerable. Show them who you really are and what you care about. It’s you that’s more important than the work, because SCA teaches you the skills to make great work. The school is worth every penny, and more.
I completed the 10 month course, and was lucky enough to get 10 placement offers. My placement was delayed for 6 months because of personal problems, but I started at Gravity Road and was there for a few months before landing my goal of Junior Creative at Mr President, then onto R/GA. It’s been nearly four years since I left and I’m now a Mid-weight Creative at Grey London.
If I hadn’t received a scholarship place, then I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to SCA. With my background I just wouldn’t have been able to afford it. I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’d have still been a carer.
It opened doors into a world where there aren’t many people like me, but it gives me a distinct voice which means I think differently to others. I’m passionate about giving back to young people who want to get into the industry. SCA made me appreciate how good it is for your career and your self confidence. So if I can help others go, I will.
SCA is so important. The school provides more scholarships per cohort than any other university or higher education setting in the UK. They’re not government funded, which means they don’t have to follow strict teaching guidelines that alienate students. That’s why the course is so great. You don’t just learn creative skills, you learn how to be a person.
But it’s not something SCA can do alone, no matter how much I know they’d like to. Agencies are always talking about diversity, but we don’t see enough doing anything about it. If you put your money into SCA to help fund a scholarship for someone from a diverse background, you’re doing way more than writing articles on why we need it. The more backing they have from agencies, the more scholarships they can offer to more people like me.
Creativity is a talent that can change and save lives, it has the power to do so much good and we always need more of it.