Working for Manchester-based events and live communication agency Ear to the Ground is the seventh placement I have completed since the start of my degree in public relations.
With graduation looming I am not only eager to stand out to prospective employers but want to gain work experience in areas that interest me as well as help develop my skills.
Ear to the Ground are responsible for the coordination of Manchester’s famous Warehouse Project, the launch of the Rugby Football League World Cup and festivals such as Parklife, Snowbombing and Field Day. They have also worked with a range of clients including Bench, Kit Kat, Gaymers Cider and Umbro.
Being part of the team was definitely enjoyable – but certainly challenging! Only now can I truly appreciate all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of organising such large scale events.
A snapshot of my ‘not so secret’ work placement diary
Tuesday 1 December
The launch of Bench clothing’s new brand positioning is in two days and my help is required with the facilitation of the event. The purpose is to reveal three major billboard prints in order to sell the campaign concept to key Bench representatives. Ear to the Ground’s objectives are as follows:
- To devise a lead creative and use props to bring the posters to life
- To create a memorable and engaging experience for guests
- To raise awareness of Bench’s new brand campaign
I’m responsible for many tasks, including selecting the models that will represent the characters on each of the billboards. Luckily it just so happens that I have the pleasure of trying to find a male model whose physique resembles a boxer… like I said it’s a tough job.
I also have to book promotional staff (who will liaise with guests on the day) and source event materials, using my negotiating skills to keep within budget and obtain the most cost effective quotations.
We have a tight schedule and I have to be able to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Whilst Bench is my priority as the intern I’m there to give support to anyone who needs it. So when I receive a phone call from the project manager telling me I have one hour to find an ‘upbeat’ classical music CD and get it to the venue in time for the Rugby Football League launch it’s important not to panic!
It’s all worthwhile when I get to meet gorgeous rugby player Gethin Jones on arrival.
Wednesday 2 December
It’s the day before the Bench event and there is still a large amount of work to do. In the morning I battle the adverse weather conditions and run around Manchester to find costumes for the models to wear.
The client has also asked that the guests are blindfolded before the first billboard is unveiled. To my dismay, nowhere in Manchester sells 75 blindfolds so I decide to revert back to the days of Art Attack buying felt to make them myself.
In the afternoon I go to the venue for the first time to assist with onsite preparation and see the progress that’s being made with constructing the set design. I stay later than usual because it is imperative that everything runs as smoothly as possible tomorrow.
Thursday 3 December
It’s an early start today and straight to work continuing to transform the venue space into each of the three billboard scenes. One image demands that the entire room is covered ceiling to floor in Post-it notes so it’s all hands on deck to get it finished before 16.00.
In addition, I’m the key point of contact for models and promotional staff which means I have to greet them on arrival and show them exactly where they need to be. It’s an extremely hectic environment but all quite exciting at the same time.
As 16.00 approaches, the Project Manger tells me that I will be participating in the actual event interacting with guests and walking them through each of the three scenes. It’s really worthwhile to be involved in the entire thing from beginning to end and to witness the guest’s enjoyment firsthand.
You can probably imagine when the event is finally over, there is a lot of clearing up to do! I stay late because it is important that everyone pulls together to get it done.
Two weeks at Ear to the Ground was a fantastic opportunity.
It gave me a better insight into the industry and will help me when making decisions about my future career.
Returning to university having completed already year in industry I am able to see a definite difference in the levels of confidence in those who have taken a year out and those who haven’t.
My previous experience enabled me to hit the ground running with this placement and think I would otherwise have struggled to meet the demands.