(L-R) Libby Munro – GSAL student, Louise Leach - Clearsilver Director, Immy Share – GSAL student, Eve Eastwood – Clearsilver PR & Social Media Account Manager.
A full-service agency based in Leeds, Clearsilver works with clients in a broad range of key market sectors throughout the UK and Europe with a particular interest and expertise in working with health, beauty, food and drink brands, retailers, B2B and not to mention third sector charities of both local and international repute.
LEAP is a non-profit organisation, which works closely with schools and colleges based in Yorkshire, supporting and mentoring students to set up a business for an academic year. Through this programme, students (aged 14-19) not only practise decision-making and problem solving but also develop interpersonal skills, work as members of a team and become self-managers through raising their own share capital, writing a business plan and marketing their product or service. Speaking of their involvement with LEAP, Clearsilver’s Director, Louise Leach explained:
“Clearsilver’s involvement with LEAP originates from my personal association with them. For about 10 years I was involved with LEAP as a parent mentor to LEAP groups in schools. But as my children grew up and left school I continued on as a parent mentor mainly because of the industry we work in and the obvious links with some of the vital skills needed for these LEAP students. With time the LEAP team asked me to join them formally as a member of the board, which I did.”
However, for the past 3 years Clearsilver has been guiding the LEAP student teams purely in terms of social media, delivering direction in engaging and harnessing social media in a business capacity. As a result, this year Clearsilver sponsored two new awards for the winning LEAP teams. “After three good years guiding students in social media, we decided that this year we should formalise some form of reward” Louise told us.
The award of a two-day placement for the most improved use of social media was won by Record Innovations of St Aiden’s Church of England High School, Harrogate, with the award for the best overall use of social media going to High Flyers from The Grammar School at Leeds.
“When we saw the LEAP programme advertised we thought it would be a good opportunity for some extracurricular activity away from school work and yet with possibilities to achieve something more and gain new skills. So we got together as a group of 10 girls and didn’t really have a problem designing what to sell.” said Immy Share - who represented High Flyers at Clearsilver with her colleague and friend, Libby Munro - speaking about their motivations behind participating in the programme.
During the LEAP process, the teams had designed and produced a range of travel accessories including passport holders, travel bags and earphones; the team from St Aiden’s High School having recycled old vinyl records into items for the home, such as clocks, fruit bowls and wine coolers. The innovative use of social media demonstrated by these teams in the promotion of their products had ultimately resulted in the attainment of a Clearsilver Social Media Award for each team.
“We had never really done anything like this before so we learned a lot about problem solving, time management, dealing with suppliers, pre-empting what might go wrong along the way and acting accordingly in the face of challenges. So whilst learning as a whole team, each person with their own role learned different things throughout the whole process,” said Libby sharing her thoughts on their overall experience.
During their placements at Clearsilver, the students were given the opportunity to learn how to create and schedule social media posts, identify effective social media campaigns, and learn the techniques and expertise used for utilising social media in a business context. More importantly, the students were offered a chance to experience life in a full-service agency, as well as receiving a wealth of industry and career advice from Clearsilver staff.
“We’ve had some really positive feedback from the students. During the placements they were fully immersed into Clearsilver, which allowed them to experience the day-to-day of agency life and participate in the client side of things. I’m very pleased to say that they have all done exceptionally well. We’re really impressed with the high level of initiative shown, and how they’ve adapted to agency life,” added Eve Eastwood, PR and Social Account Manager of Clearsilver, who has been working closely with the winners during their placement.
Clearsilver aspires to continue the award annually in an attempt to fashion young minds, helping them achieve an invaluable business learning experience and gather some critical skills to reinforce their CVs and portfolios as they present themselves to their prospective future employers as promising young professionals.
“I think it’s really hard in school unless you know whether you want to be a doctor or lawyer or some other named profession. So getting experience like this has helped us understand about jobs that we didn’t even realise were out there. The two-day placement has taught us so many new things and overall we have enjoyed the whole experience immensely,” concluded Immy.
For more details about the company go to: Clearsilver