top of page
  • Writer's pictureChristopher Medford

My First Year After Ad School: “SCA is the advertising bootcamp that’ll open all the doors”

From an early age, I have always been creative but a creative career was never an opportunity offered to me when I was in high school. After a brief stint in catering and hospitality, I knew I had to try and pursue something more creative. I went on to study Graphic Design and Illustration at the University of East London but due to financial difficulties, I wasn’t in a position to continue with the course and that inability lingered in the back of my mind for many years but I felt trapped in the job I managed to get after leaving my studies.

After working for 5 years in broadcast, two major life events made me reevaluate my career and how I was spending my time. The first was my mother’s stroke which put her into early retirement. The shock of this motivated me to try education again but after enrolling and getting only a few weeks into the first term, my employer decided they weren’t happy about me studying and did everything they could to disrupt the steady flow of shifts that I used to have. The new working pattern I had was difficult to manage, heavily impacting on my health and that of my other colleagues, including a close friend of mine Harry May. Harry had been a good friend and I managed to get him a job with me in the same department, but after a series of back to back night shifts, he passed away on the 2nd of February 2019.

Losing my friend at work was the second big change in my life in a short period of time, a tipping point for me, and a sign to get out of the company that had taken up all of my time. Harry’s older brother Elliot approached me at the wake and asked what I was doing with myself, as he knew about projects that I had previously worked on, such as making trainers and starting a clothing line, as well as various freelance graphic design work for music events. Having heard how I was feeling about my current work, he suggested that I look into the SCA, as he’d heard a number of people he worked with talk about it and felt it would be a perfect fit for me.

After looking at what this school had to offer, the main thing that stood out to me was that I could complete the entire course within a year, and hopefully get myself back into full time employment. This was a big factor in my decision in applying for a place compared to a traditional university which would have taken me a longer time to finish.

If I hadn’t applied for SCA, I probably would have been enrolled at London Metropolitan University and driven an Uber in-between, ending up following a career in design, because I wasn’t really aware of industry focussed creative courses like Watford, Jolt or Miami Ad school until starting at SCA. Looking back at the time I spent at SCA, it was literally the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life, but it was a huge push in the right direction, giving me the tools to become a better person as well as creative.

During the course, I had the opportunity to reach out to a lot of different executive creative directors and creative leads, for advice and critiques which came in handy just after portfolio day. Susan Hoskings of Mother reached out to me for an opportunity to join a new agency within the Mother family called Other, working under Kyle Harman-Turner (ECD and founder) on a very weird and unorthodox brief that she thought that my partner and I would be suited for, which was an amazing opportunity and it gave me such a confidence booster that we had been noticed for our work and everything that I had learnt had paid off.

SCA is the great leveler, when it comes to getting you ready to be creative it will teach you the tools and techniques that you’ll end up leaning on later. From problem solving, to understanding a brief, and even dealing with stubborn people; it literally teaches it all, but the greatest part of it is that they actually expose you to the industry and put leaders within arms reach, making it easier to get that direct feedback and even get hired.

It’s been just about a year since leaving SCA, but working within the advertising industry has been great. My partner and I have had an amazing opportunity, being able to learn a lot of the workings of a small business whilst still operating within a massive agency with resources that we can borrow. Due to the nature of the company, we have had the opportunity to produce some great work and make an actual change in the world. I was unable to find a creative partner within my cohort but supported by the platform of SCA I did find someone outside of the course to work with. We have a lot of common interests and get on very well, but the most important part of our partnership is that we both know our roles and how to play to our strengths. I stay out of her way writing copy and I will use every ounce of my brain power to make it all come together visually.

To all future enrollees of the School of Communication Arts, this course will help sculpt any form of creative willingness inside of you, just as long as you can follow the program, but it’s not without actual hard work. It’s literally the advertising boot camp that’ll open all the doors; but nothing in life is easy.

If it wasn’t for the SCA scholarship programme I honestly can’t imagine myself being in the position I am in at the moment but I worked as hard as I could to make it work for me. Sacrificing all the time I had and allocated it towards everything we had to learn or work to survive.

To begin with, the industry lacks people like myself, who haven’t been able to afford the leisure of this form of education or access to the industry on a whole. I have noticed that the creative advertising industry lacks diversity and fair and equal representation just because of the barriers of nepotism and the great socio-economic divide, leaving a lot of agencies with 0% from black and ethnic minorities within creative roles.

Institutions such as the SCA can and are helping to change this. There are more people like myself that are creative in many ways and have initiative to do more, but just lack the resources to pursue a lot of the creative opportunities that are available to them. It is a great platform to get people into the right places and maybe even make a piece of work to change the world.

To anyone considering this course, if you’re passionate about being a creative and want to pursue a career in the creative field, then look no further than the School of Communication Arts. From the mentors to the school sponsorships, they will get you to where you need to be, just as long as you work hard for it.

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Under Pressure at SCA

Diamonds are formed under mass amount of pressure and something that I noticed about the teaching practices used at SCA. they put tremendous amounts of pressure onto us to push us to the point of brea

My Year at the SCA (2019-20)

I have never in my life done anything as difficult, or as competitive as doing this course. Would I go back and do it all again? Let’s be honest I would, so long as I had a break before. My year has b


bottom of page