Digital agency Amaze has partnered with a new type of creative school in Manchester, aimed at preparing 14-19 year olds for the modern digital workplace.
Manchester Creative Studio (MCStudio) is the first of its kind to specifically prepare young people aged 14-19 for a career in the creative and digital sector.
The school, launched in September 2014, is set to celebrate the end of its first academic year.
A key part of the school’s approach is a unique and innovative partnership with leading employers in Manchester’s digital industries, including full service digital marketing, technology and commerce consultancy Amaze.
MCStudio opened in September 2014 and offers a wide range of qualifications delivered through project based learning and work placements, providing a ‘hands on’ approach to education.
The school’s inception reflects the fact that the digital industry is growing at twice the rate of the economy and has a shortage of skilled employees. It’s estimated that the UK will need 750,000 more digitally skilled workers to meet demand.
Amaze has worked closely with MCStudio both in the run up to the school’s opening, and throughout its first year.
This included running an open day for prospective students, giving talks, conducting visits to Amaze’s offices, shaping the curriculum, helping to appoint the Principal, advising on appropriate skills and offering work experience placements.
In addition, Amaze has given students coursework that included a live client brief. Amaze’s CEO Natalie Gross also sits on the school’s board of governors.
Funded by the Department for Education and with an open admissions policy, Studio Schools are designed for 14-19 year olds of all abilities.
They are small schools for 300 students and with year-round opening and a 9-5 working day, they feel more like a professional work environment than a school.
The aim is that young people will leave MCStudio with the technical ability, experience and qualifications to give them an edge in the marketplace.
Rosie Clayton, head of partnerships and programmes at MCStudio, comments: “Manchester Creative Studio is like no ordinary school. Students learn from and work alongside leading employers in Manchester’s creative industries, such as Amaze, developing strong partnerships with leaders in the sector.
“Our research showed that the creative and digital industries are growing in the region, but that many employers found young people were leaving education without the skills they needed to enter the workplace.
“Our vision has been driven by these employers and focuses on delivering academic excellence and high-quality skills that lead to the growth of the sector and future jobs.
“Our first year has got off to a flying start and we look forward to even greater things next year.”
Natalie Gross, CEO at Amaze, comments: “It is part of Amaze’s DNA to be involved in projects of this kind. I am a passionate believer in equipping the next generation of digital innovators with the skills they need to succeed in our industry.
“I’m immensely proud of how much the school has achieved in its first year and look forward to continuing our innovative and exciting partnership in the coming years.”