Nettl Cadets, Class of 2017 take their seats

Nettl Academy swings open the doors

Nettl, the network of neighbourhood web studios, have opened their first Nettl Academy with the first class of Nettl Cadets started their training. The Academy forms part of the recently opened 2,500sqft Nettl of Birmingham Business Store on Great Charles Street Queensway.

Every year, ten thousand students graduate from university with a design qualification. Yet, on average there are only 800 design jobs available. Businesses often prefer to hire designers with experience, but getting that experience is tough. Many designers resort to freelancing and building their portfolio through doing work for friends and family. Many more end up working in an unrelated field.

Chris Lowe, Director of Nettl and unofficial ‘head professor of Nettl Academy’ said “I see the Nettl Academy as a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training. It gives them a leg-up and teaches them ‘how to job’ in a busy and funky design studio.”

The first intake of Cadets mostly hail from Coventry University. They’ve typically studied Illustration and Graphic Design and have an average age of 21.

Kate is one of the first Cadets. She studied Graphic Design and Multimedia at the University of Worcester. She said “I started at the Nettl Academy because it was a great opportunity to further my skills as a designer and, hopefully, help me start my career.”

Chris continued “We hope that the experience a Cadet gets from Nettl Academy will make them more employable. We might keep one or two for ourselves and we’ve already had interest from other Nettl studios in our network of 100 locations. As a business, we’re always looking for talent and our partners are expanding and recruiting. One of the challenges our Nettl partners face is that they don’t know what someone’s like until they hire them. They could put them through training and then find out they’re not a good fit. We think it makes more sense for us to train the Cadets, get them ready for field action and be productive from day one.”

There’s even a prize up for grabs. The best Cadet from each class will be offered the chance to become a Nettl Grow-bag. Chris said “We’ll help them to start their own Nettl business. We have a long heritage of our team members spinning off and starting their own design businesses. We’ve helped as many as 30 former employees from our and Nettl networks to make the leap to running their own businesses. It’s kind of what we do.”

Another Cadet, Sean, who studied Illustration and Animation at Coventry University said “I was first told about the Nettl Academy from one of my lecturers. It was described as something interesting, creative and generally a good opportunity to gain some real life experience in the creative industry. So as someone who has studied a creative degree but has no real world experience I thought it was something perfect for me. In addition to this it’s a good chance to pick up skills in areas I didn’t have knowledge in before, so it has given me the good feeling that studying has again. I think it’s important to experience as many new things in life as possible.”

Nettl plan to launch a second Academy in Manchester later this year. If you’re a design student, or you know one, Nettl are looking for applicants for next term. Find our more or enrol at . If you have a design or print business, find out how Nettl could help you grow at or or call 0207 490 0011

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