i.studio plus – training for future web and digital managers. But which price is right?

One thing I perceived from the i.studio traineeship project was a broader lack of business awareness and skills amongst the talent entering the web industry. Some readers who see me as a public sector quango muppet may scoff at my making this observation…

This was more true of those coming from a design or development background – there are one or two universities in the region, such as MMU Business School, that are much more on the ball in teaching digital marketing and ecommerce within their business degrees.

Tying this together with the original i.studio research and spending an hour or two with our tame web and interactive freelancers I put a mindmap together:

Picture of the mindmap produced for i.studio plus

(Click for full-size)

Man, I love a mindmap – my tool of choice is always Freemind. On the left were practical constraints (I’ve removed the node with budgetary info as that would be bad karma), on the right structured notes on content, style of delivery and so on. Lovely curving links where topics are related. If you’re interested in seeing how I bodge together training solutions, click on the image for the full-size map.

In brief, the skills thought to be critical were a full understanding of digital as a business, financial awareness, building the right team for the job, project management, and a big one: pitching skills. At this point the bulk of the work was passed on to a subcontractor, The White Room, who were able to source relevant training providers with relative ease, and had the right experience to satisfy what I’d outlined in terms of style and credibility. (I didn’t just email this over to them, mind, the usual mind-numbing procurement processes were followed). To build on the i.studio brand, i.studio plus (or i.studio+) was born. I insisted on this name. I think The White Room hated it…

Pricing benefited from public subsidy, and cost around £350 per delegate. This price was still a stumbling block when it came to getting businesses involved, even though it offered a massive discount on the real cost, especially when compared to other providers nationally or in the region. To The White Room’s credit, however, they achieved full subscription and uniformly positive feedback for the training sessions. Interestingly, they had to hit the phones to really get the sell-in, and I ended up warming some contacts up by phone as well – I still wonder what part of the marketing was obscured by overall perceptions of Vision+Media, and what might have more to do with the need to sell training pretty hard. My conclusion, despite this: businesses really have no idea how much training should cost. This was more reflective of a broad creative sector too used to subsidy meaning free – and too many organisations and bodies keen to do this to demonstrate support, when in fact they were undermining the sector by preventing it from truly understanding return on investment in training.  My big worry is that the LEPs will rush in to the current void do the same again, and miss the complexities in fostering a strong non-academic training infrastructure for such a fussy sector as creative and digital.


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One response to “i.studio plus – training for future web and digital managers. But which price is right?

  1. Pingback: The Digital Skills Summit – brokering skills between digital companies, students, and universities | Mother Town

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