Between September 2015 and April 2016, I was invited to work with Thurrock Council on the latest Thurrock’s Next Top Boss incentive. I was pleased to return to the project during 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Thurrock’s Next Top Boss (TNTB) invites schools and colleges to collaborate with key local businesses to develop responses to ‘real world’ business challenges.
The incentive is unique in providing young people with genuine opportunities to make a valuable contribution to the local economy and with it, the chance to build connections with potential employers. Students face a series of challenges set by business partners and can collaborate with actual employees in order to form a unique solution.
My role within the project was to provide support for teams of students who were for the first time, submitting their competition entries in the form of digital media. It was expected that most of the entries would be in mixed video formats with supporting presentation and office documents. With this in mind, I was commissioned to make a series of nine student-led explainer videos offering practical advice on how to achieve a professionally-produced video submission.
In keeping with the key values of the project, tutorial films were designed to involve students throughout the entire process. These were very ably presented by young council apprentices and featured a cross section of students from William Edwards school in Grays. Project budget and time restrictions required all footage to be filmed in a single school day which required a great deal of planning and to some extent, compromise. A special approach was needed to achieve all goals and meet the brief.
The first film in the series provided an overview of the entire series, with the remaining eight films covering specific technical and creative topics. The TNTB mini series was a product of my bespoke web media service – a unique format designed to allow short programmes to be made quickly and on a very modest budget, yet with high production values. It was designed to specifically enable organisations to produce their own regularly-updated web and social media channels.
The complete series was hosted on a dedicated social media channel and also shared via Facebook and Twitter. The channels were built and maintained as part of my service package, as were the cross-linked social media accounts.
To complete the TNTB 2015-2016 project, the final part of my brief was to create and administer a digital submissions system via Dropbox uploads. Collaborating with Thurrock schools and colleges in order to provide an easy to use generic system was indeed a challenge, but the entire process went without hitch, with students successfully uploading a broad selection of impressive creative media including video, photos, presentations and even a Scratch-based multimedia game. Judges were given direct access to the files, enabling them to assess all criteria quickly and effectively.
Thurrock council, along with sponsors and supporters including Royal Opera House Bridge, Essex and Suffolk Water and Lakeside shopping centre, were keen to praise the new TNTB digital format at the event’s glitzy awards ceremony held at the South Essex College theatre facility.
Congratulations to the two winning teams, this year chosen from Gable Hall School and Grays Convent. I look forward to being involved again in 2016-2017.