PACE: Playing a part in the future

An interview with Ben Holdsworth

As a full-service creative communications agency, we’re always on the lookout for the next generation of talent. People with ambition, passion and motivation – looking to take their first steps in the creative industries.

Our PACE placements are our way of helping young people to kick-start their careers, providing them with experience, access to knowledge and an opportunity to develop their skills. We welcome candidates to work as part of our teams, offering hands-on agency experience, working on projects, meeting clients and providing a chance to build connections with industry experts.

This week, we caught up with Event Production Assistant, Ben Holdsworth – who first started his career with us four years ago, at just seventeen years old.

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What first attracted you to the placement at We are Vista?

At the time, I had no idea what I wanted a career in – I was just looking for something to get my teeth into. I found the studio assistant placement online and started researching the company. I was blown away by all the different specialisms and felt it would be an opportunity for me to try my hand at a few things and hopefully find something that was right for me.

What made you choose a placement over going to university?

The financial side of university really put me off – it’s so expensive. I knew from a young age I wanted to work rather than be in education. I felt the best way to learn and progress, was to get first-hand experience in a working environment, putting my hands to work and earning a living.

What did your role involve?

It was a 12-month paid placement for a studio assistant role. I basically had to take care of administration tasks and support the studio manager with internal costing quotes. Admittedly, it wasn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever done – but for me, it was a foot in the door to bigger things.

I knew the company had teams of creatives with a range of disciplines and so I believed if I could prove my worth over the course of my placement, at the end of the year it might open up more opportunities for me – which thankfully it did.

What skills did you take away from your placement?

The list is endless. For me, the working world was a bit of a shock to the system. I’d gone from sitting with my friends all day in sixth form, to sitting at a desk nine till five in a professional environment. I can’t thank my manager at the time enough. He taught me concentration skills and attention to detail. I became savvy with Excel and mastered the internal costing system. The placement definitely gave me a platform to work from and helped me to figure out what I wanted to do going forward.

You now work in the events team at We are Vista – can you tell us about your journey into this role?

Through the placement I gained a greater understanding of the different specialisms available and once my 12-months was up, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in events. I remember sitting down with my manager to discuss it. I was given a 6-month trial in the events team and the rest is history. Now I’m an Event Production Assistant and I’m loving it. From planning and delivering events, to making sure suppliers are briefed and booked and timings and agendas are taken care of – every day is different.

What has been one of your stand-out moments in your career so far?

It has to be working with our client BMW, on the Retailer Conference. I worked with the team to set up the stage for Razorlight and Trevor Nelson who were performing at the event. It was a very long day, but such a cool experience.

Also my first overseas job in Amsterdam was incredible. From the venue, to the people – we had excellent feedback from our client McKinsey and it was just an awesome all-round experience.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a placement? Or trying to break into the industry?

You’ve got to be prepared to work as hard as you can to prove yourself. Be a sponge and soak it all up – even the bits you might find boring. A willingness to learn will get you noticed. But don’t expect people to constantly pat you on the back, you’ve got to be confident in your own ability. It can be hard at first, but it will get easier.

Aside from placement programmes, what else do you think needs to be done to encourage the next generation to join the industry? 

At school there is a huge focus on university and a lack of work experience opportunities. I think there needs to be a showcase of the benefits of choosing a placement too, opening up people’s options. My dad owns his own business and so for me, working was always something I was aware of – but there’s kids who have no idea about placements until it’s too late.

For more information on our PACE placements, please contact: pace@wearevista.co.uk