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13 July 2023

Nurturing the next generation: ‘All agencies need to do their part’

DAD landscape 1

Robot Food has been seeking out the next generation of designers at a selection of recent degree shows happening around the country.

Meeting students face to face again after years of covid-related disruption has been inspiring. We’ve been impressed by their thoughtful and creative work and their interesting and challenging ideas. It’s also been a chance for them to get to know us... and maybe find their way onto our graduate internship.

Seeking out new talent and giving it a chance to shine is something Robot Food has always taken seriously.

“We get to nurture the next generation of designers. All agencies need to do their part in that. Everyone needs their first step on the ladder.”


RF Portraits 2022 Craig
Norwich show 2

Keeping it real at Robot Food

Too often, that first step on the ladder doesn’t give graduates much of a view. Two-week placements for no pay, only the promise of ‘experience’ which turns out to be little more than making tea and watching the work go by.

So we’ve decided to do our internship differently and give some talented designers the chance to really be involved in what we do.

“That’s why it’s six weeks, paid,” says Design Director Steph Mason. “In six weeks you’ll see so many different projects - the full scale of what we do. You’ll be working on real work, answering real briefs, solving real creative challenges.”

Of course, we can’t claim to be making such an offer purely out of the goodness of our heart. There's plenty of benefit to us, too.

“We want to feel inspired by an intern and for them to blow our minds with their ideas…and show us they deserve to hang around a little (or a lot) longer…. that’s the whole point of it,” says Craig. “They challenge us in a way we maybe wouldn’t challenge ourselves.”

“It’s also an opportunity for us to get to know them,” adds Steph. “Robot Food is expanding, and so we will be looking for talented people to fill brand-new Junior roles in the near future.

“We want to be the agency they want to work for.”

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DAD portrait 1

Northern exposure

As well as being short-term placements with little exposure to real work, many internships on offer to design graduates these days are based in London. For graduates outside the M25, a London-based internship can present an insurmountable financial obstacle. As they embark on their career in the midst of a cost of living crisis it can be unworkable for students from all incomes and areas to access internships in the capital. The north is a region rich in companies specialising in all forms of design, and as a leading agency Robot Food remains committed to providing much more than your average ‘placement’ by offering six weeks of paid work.

“Internships, like the design industry in general, are typically London-centric,” explains Craig. “It’s important that graduates in other areas of the country have those opportunities, and top agencies like ours need to carve those out for them.”

It’s an opportunity we plan to keep carving, with even more to come next year.

“Obviously we’ve had to restart after Covid. But moving into our new studio space, we’re kick-starting this stronger relationship with the graduate scene,” explains Steph.

“We’re going to keep branching out after this internship intake. Next year, we’re hoping to set more live briefs, do more portfolio surgeries, and really utilise the new space that we have. We’re going to be a lot more connected, put ourselves out there a lot more.”

Design Director

RF Portraits 2022 Steph

Talent is always welcome

The response has been overwhelming. Over 100 serious applications for our internship programme reflects the opportunity on offer and the standing Robot Food has in the design world. Some truly outstanding portfolios gave our design team a lot to think about - and more than a little bit to envy. The talent truly is out there.

So while we have chosen our first interns and closed the current application, it’s not the end of the matter. Far from it.

“Even though this application is closed for now, we’re always open to contact from talented students and graduates,” says Steph. “This is going to be an ongoing internship scheme, and if you send us something we love, we’re going to be interested.”

So, have you got something to wow us with? Get in touch