ICA gets students’ feet wet

The Agency Diving Society aims to show what it's like to work in the industry and encourage potential future leaders to dive in.

This story appears in the December/January 2015 issue of strategy

Agency life can be a strange world to an outsider, so the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) has launched a new web platform to peel back the curtain and make it an attractive option to creative thinkers still planning their career path.

The Agency Diving Society, at AgencyDiver.ca, features resources for students such as basic information about how the industry works, the next steps to enter it, words of advice from professionals, an online quiz to figure out which position is right for them and a board where ICA member agencies can post internships and entry-level jobs. The idea is to provide a clear picture about working in advertising and to convince students and recent grads in creative fields to dive in.

“The pool of talent is getting tighter and our job complexity is growing, and our member agencies are realizing we need to put our best foot forward in this world of diminishing resources so we attract the best and brightest to our industry,” says Suzanne Filiatrault, director of talent development at the ICA.

The Agency Diving Society will be promoted through social outreach with college and university job placement and career management groups. On the day of its launch at this year’s Next Generation Day at Advertising Week, the platform was promoted through a contest where students in attendance pitched their qualifications in the space of a tweet or Instagram post, with the winner nabbing a 10-week paid internship at SapientNitro.

Filiatrault says focusing on internships will be a key project at the ICA in the year ahead. Right now, all member agencies are required to follow a code of ethics, part of which includes fair treatment and compensation for all interns and co-op students. The ICA is also behind things like Next Generation Day, where students interact with agencies and learn about careers in the field, as well as meet-and-greet nights for incoming interns.

“There’s lots more we’d like to do that is less about making introductions or networking and more about ensuring the experience an intern has is positive for them and the agency that hosts them,” Filiatrault says.