How our ‘Lockdown Learning’ initiative inspired, educated, entertained and brought us all together!

If, at the beginning of 2020, you’d have told any of the team here at Creative Resource that we’d play a small part in helping a number of students and professionals keep motivated and inspired during a period of enforced lockdown, we’d have probably laughed.

Fast-forward seven months and as we take stock of what we called our ‘Lockdown Learning’ initiative, even we can’t believe what we have been part of. Over 3360 sign-ups, 52 sessions delivered by some incredible professionals who gave their time for free (we’ve listed you all at the end of this blog post, you deserve a massive thank you) and not to mention the Creative Resource team pulling together and going above and beyond.

In that time, we’ve moved beyond being a traditional recruitment business and into a valuable source of inspiration for graduates and professionals with a shared uncertain future.

It all started with Phil Lewis and his Recession Rebellion project.

We never set out on hosting 52 sessions. As Lockdown approached and uncertainty began to rise in the marketplace, we simply wanted to offer a stabilising voice to business leaders and agency owners. Step forward the fabulous Phil Lewis from Corporate Punk whose aim it is to help some of the world’s best organisations improve on their performance whilst also acting as a mentor to a handful of select agencies.

The feedback from this first session was tremendous, helping us realise there was an appetite out there for this kind of thing. Not only that, but we also discovered there was a wide range of professionals out there who genuinely wanted to help and inspire people during a time of uncertainty.

As a result of this our first workshops were born with the help of Lisa Jones introuducing us to the wonderful Paul Burns and his tremendous ‘How to be the best account handler’, ‘Planning for suits’ and the thoroughly entertaining and engaging ‘Selling creative work without the big sell’. Jack Milner and his session ‘Nailing pitches and presentations virtually’ and finally Jenny Plant ran Managing Clients in Challenging Times.

“Really enjoyed it! Creative Resource really know how to tap into introducing top industry professionals with those just starting out in their career! As always, thank you.”

That was fine for the professionals out there, but what about the students?

 Our School of Thought initiative was running its first sessions over in Leeds after several hugely successful years running in Manchester. We knew that students found School of Thought invaluable for getting to work on engaging briefs and gain access to professionals within the industry for exposure and advice.

So, we decided to run several School of Thought taster weeks over Zoom with priority given to 2020 Graduates and it’s here that we have to say a special thank you to (deep breath):

James Cross from The BBC; Mel Yates from Absolute Media; Angelo and Paul Grimshaw at APS Group; Paul Kinsella at Havas; Andy Bunday from The & Partnership; Abi McSherry and the team at Couch.  70 students got to work on a range of briefs from the return of Premier League football to a wonderful brief on diversity and inclusion, with mentorship and advice that will stay with them for years.

“It was a great session and inspirational, thank you for doing these events.”

From search engine optimisation to social media… our masterclasses had it all!

By this time, we really had taken a lid off a can of worms. We were inundated with professionals wanting to help both graduates and other people in the industry with masterclasses packed full of invaluable advice, lessons and tips for success.

Again, we’ve listed everyone who helped below, and a big thank you to you all, a few highlights for us were Red C’s ‘Secret Life of Search’,  Sharp Agency with ‘The Power of Co-Creation to Build a Stronger Brand’, McCann Manchester with their ‘Press Advertising Masterclass’, Simon Landi and his team at Access ran an amazing 4 sessions for us, and of course Julian Gratton’s thoroughly inebriating ‘Cocktails & Copy Masterclass’.

“Very happy with the variety of sessions and topics, much needed resource at this time now I have just graduated.”

A day in the life and agency meet and greets.

Following some feedback from a number of people we then launched an initiative so that graduates could understand more about what it means to work in a certain role and to have some meet and greets with industry professionals.

“Really enjoyable, liked hearing about the path Jamie took into design. Nice to hear another designer talk about being yourself and not trying to fit a box/label.”

The areas covered in the meet and greets included such topics as; ‘Agency v client side… which is for you?’ and ‘Transitioning from Uni to Agency Life’ as well as others to help build up resilience in the current climate, such as ‘Reaching your Creative Peak post Covid-19’ and ‘Bend not Break… how to become more resilient’.

Again, everyone here at Creative Resource were astounded at the popularity of these sessions and the feedback we received afterwards and on LinkedIn. We have met some outstanding graduates along the way, juggling final submissions, D&D entries and attending as many of the sessions as they possibly could. Passionate and determined.

Looking back, we can’t believe what we’ve been able to achieve.

These last few months have been a challenging time for us all. We hope everyone who has attended any of our masterclasses or workshops have found them both inspirational and motivating and we’re already working on ways that we can keep things going and become more than just your usual recruitment agency by holding more events like this in the future.

If anyone has got this far down on this blog post and wants to host anything with our help, has thoughts on what they’d like to see us do next or want to be kept aware of any future masterclasses and workshops, then please email us at

We’d like to say a final thank you to everyone who made our masterclasses and workshops possible and who gave up their time for free to help inspire, motivate and educate others. Thank you from everyone at Creative Resource. From the bottom of our hearts.

Simon Landi, MD; Frankie Metzinger, Account Director; Adam Smith, Creative Lead; Matt Carr, Account Manager and Abby Griffiths, Account Executive, We are Access

Kate Cook, Brand and Marketing Strategist;  Angelo Giaquinto, CD and and Paul Grimshaw, Head of Creative at the APS Group

Adrian Rowe, Chairman and Stuart Clark, Head of Copy at Red C Marketing

Rob Weatherhead, Digital Consultant, Agent Wolf

Natalie Procter, Head of Brand & Content, BPP Education

Mike Pye, Director of Mike Pye Marketing

Kieran Edwards, CD, Dead Pixel Films

John Whalley, Head of Branding & Strategy at Seventy7

Amy Dennis, Account Manager at Jones Knowles Ritchie

Andy Bunday, Creative Director at The & Partnership

Adam Richardson, Senior Art Director, McCann Manchester

Kineta Kelsall, Global Social Media Training Director, Jellyfish

Paul Kinsella, Chief Creative Officer at Havas Lynx Group 

Ian Patterson, Digital Transformation Specialist

Richard Sharp, Co-Founder and CD of The Sharp Agency

Beccy Irving, Wellbeing Coach, The Life Project

Rob Gray, Co-founder and Strategy Partner at Squad 

Martin Askew, Deputy CD and Joe Madden, Head of Copy, Upp B2B.

Jordan Yates, Freelance Designer and co-Founder of Design Recovery+

Nick Entwistle, Founder Bank of Creativity and One Minute Briefs

Jake Welsh, Principal Creative Consultant at Dept Agency

Simon Thorneloe, Senior Designer at Dept Agency

Dani Molyneux, Founder of Studio Dotto,

Jamie Kelly, Founder & CD, SUN

Paul Burns, Founder, Burns Unit tlc

Jack Milner, Founder, Stand Up and Deliver

Dr Karl Jeffries, creativity expert

Jenny Plant, Founder of Account Management Skills

Andrew Brown-Allan, Group Marketing Director at Trak Global,

Lizzie Wood, Account Director at Fourth Day PR.

Olivia Downing, Creative at TBWA\MCR, & Founder of  CIA: Chicks in Advertising

Phil Lewis, Founder, Corporate Punk

James Cross, Creative Director, BBC Creative

Abi Davison, Ash Rishi, Louise Kelly & Megan Kelly at Couch Health

and Julian Gratton for being an extraordinarily good friend to us



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