Being a new starter in the creative sector can be difficult. Whether it's getting your head around the amount of technology used, or getting to know the different 'best practices', it can be tough to have an idea of what you need to succeed. But luckily, that's where Innovator's Hub: Catalyst came to save the day.
Launched as a 10-part, one day a week digital training programme, Catalyst is the brain-child of Innovator's Hub founder, Robyn Dooley, and Angel Solutions founder, Andy Kent. It's been specially designed with some of Liverpool's best digital agencies to encourage 18-30 year olds, working in the creative digital sector, to realise their potential.
In all, (including myself) there's 42 passionate and creative individuals enrolled on the course - much to my relief, as it showed me that there were so many like-minded people who weren't entirely sure what they were doing yet.
As first days go, this was one of the best. Whether it was Andy's ability to engage everyone through his dad-jokes, the pride on Robyn's face seeing Catalyst in motion, or the room's enthusiasm, the feeling was incredible.
The course is split into three themes, covering three days each (Connect, Collaborate, and Create). This means that every agency involved has a chance to talk about their individual business, while also givig key insights into how the "real world" digital and creative industry works.
From Smaller Earth's Mark Hodgson's motivational talk, bmicro's founder Mark Russell's enthusiasm for helping micro-businesses, to a hard-hitting budget workshop ran by Peter Smith from Liverpool Vision - within the first half, Catalyst has run through almost everything that you could think of within the digital industry.
But as someone who's always interested in learning more about content creation and online design, there've been two sessions in particular that have completely captured me. The first, from SB Studio's Benji Holroyd, was simple, honest, and powerful - covering almost every question that I've had about design. And any questions that I still had, Black & Ginger's Alex French and Ellie took care of. Both speakers had such passion for their craft, letting us know that it's okay to make mistakes, never to settle, and to follow what makes you happy. I walked away from the second session with a reignited fire for content and design (and a free copy of SB studio's 100/100 book).
Along with the inspirational talks, business insiders, and freebies, there've been some amazing practical sessions too. One of which, 'Get Your Head Around Code', was hosted by Euan and Chelsea from Girl Geeks. It centred around, as the title suggests, getting an understanding of how coding works and its limitations. Which, after a frustrating 15 minutes of wondering why my code wasn't working, I've now learned how important simple factors (like apostrophe placement) are.
We've just had week 7 of Catalyst, with two-ish weeks left until graduation. I've already learned more than I thought I would, with a number of practical sessions left to go.
If you've ever thought about working in the digital sector but, like me, have no idea of how to get your foot in the door - try Catalyst. It'll give you an honest, unbiased inside look at how digital agencies work; you might even pick up some amazing friends along the way.
For more information on next year’s IH: Catalyst course, click here