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phil cookson

Hey Phil, How are you?

​I’m good thanks, 2020 was a tough year for everyone but I’m feeling positive!

Who is Phil Cookson?

​I’m a Director at Creative Resource and also Co-Founder of School of Thought.

I noticed on your Linkedin that you studied History and American Studies, and then switched to a design-related role. Why was this?

​To be honest I had no idea what I wanted to do, especially at 18 when choosing my university course. So I chose subjects I was passionate about, and this included spending 6 months studying abroad in the US which really helped me to grow up. After graduating I completed a Graduate scheme for a national retailer, again not really knowing what I wanted to do. I then stumbled into creative recruitment 17 years ago and I’m still here today. It’s important to remember lots of people don’t know what they want to do, it’s not a bad thing.

You are the co-founder of School of Thought, who are they and how did this come about?

​School of Thought is an intensive creative course and competition that runs in Manchester and Leeds annually, it focuses entirely on developing the ability to come up with and pitch big ideas. It came about from conversations with my co-founder David Campbell, who is from Australia, he talked about Award School which has been the training ground for Australian creatives for 40 years now, he wondered whether there was anything similar for creatives in Manchester, there wasn’t so School of Thought was created. It’s run with the support of some of the top creative agencies in the North, and we’ve now run 7 programmes in Manchester and expanded to Leeds this year for the first programme there. It’s not only a course but also a competition, with the first prize being a trip to Cannes Lions.

What is Creative Resource and how are you involved?

​We’re a 30-year-old specialist recruiter for the creative and marketing sector in the North. I’m one of the Director’s but I’m still hands-on with both clients and candidates, helping great agencies and brands find great people.

Do you have any advice for students who are graduating in 2021 or who have studied and are unable to find work?

​Keep at it, things will improve in 2021. The last recession really took a chunk out of the economy for the best part of 5 years (2008-2013), I don’t think it’s going to last as long this time. Make sure you are continuing your passion for your subject, keep reading, watching webinars, trying out new skills, but there’s nothing wrong with chilling out at times too, get your balance right.

For my final question, what is next for Phil Cookson?

​Hopefully a return to normality in 2021 with a busy year for Creative Resource and School of Thought!

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