Meet our employer partner, Nigel Stafford, from Clear Channel

What does your business do?

Clear Channel is one of the biggest advertising companies in the world. We specialise in outdoor advertising or Out of Home (OOH) advertising as it’s called – billboards and digital screens on the street and in shopping centres. We have more than 40,000 sites around the UK.

What is your role?

I’m a graphic designer supporting the sales team and the businesses who buy advertising from us. When a sales person visits a company and discusses ideas for an advertising campaign, I mock-up what that would look like. Depending on the type of customer, I may also look over and advise on artwork for the actual advertising campaign. I also produce all the sales support tools like brochures, presentations and videos for the direct sales department, so it’s very varied.

How did you get into this career?

I started in sales at Clear Channel and because I was doing the job I could see how it would be so much better if clients could see visuals of what their advertising might look like, so I suggested it. They asked me to prove it, so I had to come up with some designs for a sales process, they were impressed and I’ve never looked back.

The thing is, I’ve always been a creative person – I was a resident DJ for a while and I produce music, I’m also a photographer and a self-taught graphic designer. I’ve kept on learning and taking opportunities whenever I can so I’ve been able to build a career.

How did you get involved with UTC Sheffield?

I know Vicky Allen, the curriculum director for creative and digital media, who invited me to come in and speak to the students about photography.

What sort of things have you done at the UTC?

I started off doing a masterclass about photography – how to take good photos – then I did a class on logo design. That led on to reviewing students’ work for their Extended Project Qualification or EPQ, which is part of their Cambridge Technical qualification.

What have you enjoyed?

I love the breadth of what the students are interested in. It keeps me on my toes. A lot of my work is about engaging with younger audiences so it’s good to speak to young people and find out what they’re thinking.

Most of the students at the UTC are outstanding.  They’re very polite, very professional and very talented.  Those for whom the top grades don’t come as easily make up for it with sheer determination. I’ve enjoyed giving them some industry input to help with their portfolios – having a strong portfolio with industry-based work is essential for getting into the creative and digital sector.

What have been the stand-out moments?

Listening to a really good piece of music produced by a student called Mitch Morton who subsequently went on to win a three-year DJ management contract playing at clubs in Ibiza, including a set at the world-renowned Space Ibiza, and is now studying music technology at Leeds Beckett University. I’d been able to help Mitch and it was great to see his talent shine through.

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