The Shelf Awards is now in its 12th year and since beginning has helped some 130 graduates get started in the creative industry. At the very first night of The Shelf Awards, back in 2001, one of the participants was a young copywriter named Ross Newton who had just graduated from Bucks New University. Since that night he has gone on to enjoy an award-winning career with the likes of Partners Andrews Aldridge and Rapier. He also returns every year to The Shelf Awards to share his advice with the new graduates. We’re pleased that he’s taken time out to share some of his thoughts on The Shelf Awards and the industry with us…
You took place in the very first year of The Shelf Awards in 2001 (we don’t want to make you feel old) – what do you remember about the evening?
The evening was an emotional rollercoaster. We were all really nervous at first but then as all the creative directors started to arrive the competitive spirit came out and we were fighting for book crits. The night was a great success for all the teams involved – most of us were offered placements and everyone received book crits from some of the best in the business. I don’t remember anything after that as it was a free bar.
You’ve been a great supporter of The Shelf Awards, coming back over the years as a guest, what would you say to the graduates coming into them now?
I know it sounds really obvious, but I would simply say make the most of it. The opportunity to showcase your work in front of that many industry bods doesn’t come along very often. I would also urge them to forget their nerves and chat to as many people as possible.
And what would you urge the guests, whether creative directors, copywriters and art directors, recruiters or other industry figures, to be saying to the graduates?
I guess I would just urge them to be honest but constructive with their feedback.
Could you give this year’s graduates one key piece of advice for The Shelf Awards?
For The Shelf Awards – always ask for people’s business cards so you can chase them up for book crits, placements and jobs in the morning.
And for their future careers?
For their careers – work hard and be nice (it’s a very small industry).
What does the support of The Shelf Awards mean?
The Shelf Awards are incredibly important. They’re a great way for graduates to meet lots of leading industry figures and, likewise, a great way for the industry to meet the upcoming talent.
Could you give us your career highlights to date?
Winning a load of awards, meeting a load of incredibly talented people and eating a load of free lunches.
Ross will be joining other industry experts at The Shelf Awards 2012 on 5th July at the IPA, including leading creative directors, copywriters, art directors and recruiters, to share advice with this year’s graduates.