Last year Malwina, Tia-Nicole, Ahmed and Muawiyah completed Fast Forward - a 6 month intensive training programme delivered by OMD International, Citizens UK and JP Morgan - securing a competitive 9 month internship at OMD at the end. During their internship they have been working on various projects with companies like Carlsberg, Bacardi, Hilton and Heinz. We caught up with them half-way through their internship to talk about their experience of working among professionals for a global media agency.
Photograph (left to right): Ahmed Abdirahman, Tia-Nicole Knight-McIntosh, Malwina Hill and Muawiyah Manley.
Could you please introduce yourselves and tell us about your role at OMD?
Ahmed: Hi, my name is Ahmed and I am 18 years old. I went to Sir George Monoux College where I studied business administration. I enjoy making YouTube videos and swimming.
Tia-Nicole: Hi, my name is Tia. I am 20 years old. I went to City of Westminster College to study media production. I also studied psychology. I like reading a lot. I am currently working in strategy and insight.
Muawiyah: Hello, my name is Muawiyah. I went to City and Islington College. I studied art and design. I am currently working with Hilton.
Malwina: Hi, my name is Malwina and I am 20 years old. I went to City of Westminster College to study media production with history and art. I am currently working with Bacardi.
All of you are currently on the second rotation of your internship. How is it going?
Ahmed: I finished working with Walgreens Boots Alliance and that was a really good experience for me because I am passionate about skincare. I have learnt a lot from them. Currently I am working with Carlsberg and the team is really good.
What sort of tasks have you been given?
Ahmed: I was doing research and comparing trends. I was also in charge of the weekly newsletter and had to write a lot of reports and create presentations.
Tia-Nicole: I was originally working with Hilton, Intel and Heinz and was given various responsibilities. I had to do business marketing bits and the monthly newsletter. Most recently I have been given a research task for one of our clients.
Muawiyah: I have worked with Carlsberg for the past three months. I was in charge of the weekly and monthly newsletters that were sent to the clients. I also worked on budget and expenditure. I had hand on experience with working with people from around the world. I am working with Hilton at the moment.
Malwina: I started working on strategy. I had to do a lot of research and e-mails. I then moved to new business - Bacardi - and currently I am currently getting to know the team. I have improved my research skills a lot.
Have you noticed any changes in yourselves?
Tia-Nicole: I have learnt a lot more patience. I have been working with many teams where they would teach me various things - for example I got to spend a week learning how to create a new website. I definitely have more confidence.
Ahmed: I have gone through many changes. When you are in professional environment sometimes you go through things you do not necessarily agree with and that taught me negotiating skills. I used to find it awkward to speak to big groups of people but I am slowly opening up more.
Muawiyah: It is all about negotiating how to work out a middle ground when working around two different opinions. I wanted to be more creative rather than doing desktop research so I asked if I could do some work with the creative team so I was given a task to create an e-booklet and I smashed it out in a couple of days. It is a lot of networking and meeting people as well.
Why did you decide to take part in the Fast Forward programme?
Ahmed: When I saw the application and what Fast Forward was offering I was intrigued because I always wanted to go to digital marketing. I thought it was a godsend because I needed an opportunity to develop my skills. My eyes lit up when I found out about it. Everything that I expected has happened and even more. It has been a really good experience so far.
Tia-Nicole: It seemed like a very good opportunity to me. I have been looking at internships in the media and when the Good Jobs came into my college and gave us a presentation I thought it was very interesting and I really wanted to do this.
Muawiyah: I was already looking for an internship when you came to my college and I was not really looking to go to university. I was applying for a lot of different vacancies but I always got turned down because of not being a university graduate or lack of experience. When Fast Forward came into my college I thought I really needed to take this opportunity.
Malwina: I joined because during my education I never did anything outside of school. It seemed like a good opportunity to take part in the programme. I thought I could learn something I am interested in and it would somehow connect to the choice of my future career.
Okay, great. How would you describe a Good Job?
Ahmed: I would say that culture of the company and atmosphere of the company are very important. Work in itself is important but people who you work with contribute to it.
Tia-Nicole: A good job is something that you love doing. You basically do what you love and you get paid for it.
Muawiyah: If you enjoy the people you are working with I would say that is a good job. Personal preference makes a good job too – when you do something you planned on pursuing.
Malwina: I think any job can be a good job – if you are a cleaner and enjoy doing it then that could be a good job. When you are happy and you do something that stimulates your brain by learning then that is a good job.
From your experience how important are initiatives like Fast Forward for young people in London?
Ahmed: They are very important. I know a lot of young people who do not know where to go, I was one of them. A lot of people go to university just to please their families. Once my mum saw how I am growing on the programme and that I am earning money as well she was happy.
Muawiyah: I do not know where I would be right now if it wasn’t for this opportunity. I would probably be at university not enjoying myself as much. There is a lot of young people out there who did not find an opportunity like we did so they are stuck with something they did not want to do. I hope the programme will get bigger and involve more young people.
Malwina: It is obviously a great programme. Good Jobs Campaign can relate to people who choose different directions in life. It allows you to make good contacts. It is good for someone who does not want to continue their education so they can get straight into work
Tia-Nicole: This initiative is good because there is not many media internships or apprenticeships for young people. Good Jobs Campaign saw that there is a skills gap in digital media and they did something about it.
Citizens UK’s Good Jobs Campaign works with schools and colleges in disadvantaged communities and employers in high skill sectors to create new high quality training pathways into good jobs for young people. To find out more about our work, see our programmes page.