Stefanie Sword-Williams, founder of creative industry mentoring platform F*ck Being Humble, has launched a new graduate programme aimed at helping the class of 2020.
Launched in 2018, the F*ck Being Humble brand aims to help creatives “overcome the fear of self-promotion” by providing events, workshops and career support. Sword-Williams has also written a book under the same title.
The latest offering from the platform is More Than A Grad, a four-week curriculum which looks to support this year’s graduates as they leave university in the middle of the global coronavirus pandemic. The month-long course, which will take place in August, will include live workshops, Q&As and “actionable” teachings.
“Immediately start progressing their passion project with a clear focus”
The main focus of the programme, Sword-Williams tells Design Week, is to encourage young people to develop their passion projects – F*ck Being Humble is, in itself, Sword-Williams’ own passion project.
“For so many people, they sit on ideas but never have the knowledge or confidence to make them happen,” she says. “We want to change this.”
The course will be led by Sword-Williams and supported by a “diverse range of industry experts”, many of whom have turned their own passion projects and side hustles into success stories. Each week, learners will get access to one workshop, two Q&As with the industry experts and activities to complete in their own time.
With each week working through the different tenets of the challenge, from the research and ideation stage through to launch, Sword-Williams says students should leave with an idea of how they can “immediately start progressing their passion project with a clear focus”.
“Getting graduates work-ready is pointless if there are no jobs available”
More Than A Grad is Sword-Williams’ response to a creative industry that she feels could be doing more to support its youth.
“So far the industry has offered up CV and portfolio reviews, but getting graduates work-ready is pointless if there are no jobs available,” she says of the current pandemic.
And recalling her own experience as a young creative, Sword-Williams says one of her biggest frustrations was attending events with speakers that had “20+ years’ experience or their own large companies”.
“Their stories would be inspirational, but I would leave feeling no more certain on how to take their examples and apply them to my own ideas,” she says. “It is not enough for industry leaders to share their career history with talent, we have to be providing them with actionable steps to make their own history and stand out.”
These “actionable steps”, Sword-Williams says, will help students regain their autonomy while also acknowledging the external factors that impact any project brought into the world.
The first week’s guest speaker, for example, will be future forecaster Helen Job, who will give learners an idea of what makes ideas popular in mainstream culture, what global trends to be considering and how they can make sure ideas “stick”.
“Carve out their presence in the creative industry”
In her own one-to-one CV consultations in the past, she explains most feedback includes asking students to tell their prospective employer something “different” about themselves.
“Everyone is looking for a way to stand out but for the majority of students, their experience has been limited by the course they studied, the briefs they had to work to, and the lack of responsibility they have in junior industry roles or placements,” she says.
Add to this the fact that graduate hiring has stalled because of the pandemic, and Sword-Williams believes that passion projects are key. Indeed, this echoes what The Dots founder Pip Jamieson and Studio Recruitment director Lucy Painter told Design Week back in May, when asked how students can navigate the job market right now.
“Not only will this improve their chances of being spotted in a hugely crowded industry, but it could also be a financial supplement to support them through the employment crisis until the industry stabilises,” she says.
“The most important thing for graduates to come away with [from More Than A Grad] is an increased sense of self-belief and tangible evidence that will help to carve out their presence in the creative industry.”
More Than A Grad is running from 3-28 August. Tickets can be bought here, costing £25 for the full programme.