Learning after lockdown

A selection of some of the best industry training and mentoring schemes, as told by the people who’ve done them.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


Lockdown has certainly been a time for reflection. Whether you’ve been on furlough and had a stretch of time to yourself, or been working flat out, many of us have been pondering our careers.

The physical shift to working from home has naturally lent itself to gaining a different perspective. It broke all our habits: our commutes, the way things are arranged on our desks, how often we take a break. So, it’s no surprise that our brains are asking, “what am I doing?” on a regular basis.  

Those with time on their hands may well have taken up learning something new but a working life lived in lockdown does not generally equate to more freedom. Research from LinkedIn in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation shows that on average Britons have been working 28 hours of overtime per month each since lockdown began; the equivalent of four extra days.

Yet, while we don’t have time to spare, we nonetheless can always benefit from continued learning. Whether it is alongside a current role or venturing into something new, focusing on development can blow away career cobwebs or help avoid burnout.

So, we asked the industry to tell us their experiences of the best training and mentoring schemes available, and how and why they’d recommend them.

Nothing is more rewarding then seeing someone you have mentored and supported succeed.

Lauren Mollyneaux-Brown

Lauren Mollyneaux-Brown

Lauren Mollyneaux-Brown.jpg

Learning & Development Partner

Ogilvy UK

Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to be mentored by different people, mainly colleagues or team members. I found this support invaluable, helping me grow both personally and professionally. Because of this experience, I understand the importance of giving back to others especially to the next generation and those from unrepresented backgrounds. Having the support, advice and knowledge sharing from senior black women in the creative industries has got me where I am today and by giving back, I hope to help others achieve their goals. Nothing is more rewarding then seeing someone you have mentored and supported succeed.  

Lockdown has provided some challenges in supporting emerging talent, but I have found many ways to keep these connections either through work with our partner Uptree, supporting the current and incoming apprentices or just connecting via social medias channels such as WhatsApp and LinkedIn,

I would definitively recommend mentoring. Not only can you help and support someone in their professional and personal lives, but you also benefit from ‘reverse mentoring’. The next generation are going to change the world, we have seen it in their responses to COVID, climate-change and Black Lives Matter. They are the ones that will, hopefully, make the difference and they can teach us a lot.

While technology and consumer behaviour may evolve, the fundamentals of marketing hold pretty constant.

Olga de Giovanni

Olga de Giovanni


Global PR & Communications Manager


Among the madness of the COVID lockdown, adjusting to a new normal and pivoting like never before, I decided to sign up for the Marketing Week Mini-MBA with Mark Ritson. I committed to 12 weeks of on-demand lessons covering the core MBA marketing modules.

Ritson’s Mini-MBA has a strong focus on the B2C world, but as a B2B marketer I was fully prepared to take on the challenge. If anything, the course has strengthened my belief that B2B can and must learn from B2C, and D2C, to fully understand the strategy, structure, and processes behind winning marketing campaigns. While technology and consumer behaviour may evolve, the fundamentals of marketing hold pretty constant.

The course is designed to mirror the core of marketing content offered in MBA programmes at top business schools. That means equipping learners with the knowledge and frameworks they need to become more effective marketers. To be candid, I was surprised by how effective, impactful, and comprehensive this course is.

If you’re a marketer looking to level-up and tackle bigger, more fulfilling challenges, I would recommend and encourage you to consider Marketing Week’s Mini-MBA with Mark Ritson. It’s a great first step. What’s more, the value that this qualification will bring in terms of credibility and trust among my colleagues and peers, particularly at senior levels, is priceless.

The best training courses have to be the ones that take you out of your comfort zone and enable you to consider the world from an entirely new perspective.

Becky McOwen-Banks

Becky McOwen-Banks

Becky McOwen-Banks.jpeg

Executive Creative Director

VaynerMedia London

The best training courses have to be the ones that take you out of your comfort zone and enable you to consider the world, and how you can contribute to it, from an entirely new perspective. This is exactly what the MBA from Berlin School of Creative Leadership is doing for me. Four modules down out of my five, I have been challenged to view the creative industry as just that: an industry, complete with business models, economic structures and influence. Talk about levelling up!

As a curiosity addict and life-long learner, I chose this course because it would pull me from my UK/Australia focus into a global perspective. The modules are delivered in Germany, America, China and Japan but more than that, my fellow students and the alumni herald from every creative sphere across every continent. It is a magical experience to discover that the concerns I was having as a creative leader in AdLand UK are the same as an award-winning film director in India or an art gallery director in Paris. The joy of bonding over commonalities of being a creative brain trying to enable other creative brains pays no homage to the industry sector.

For those of us that believe the answers to the best creativity lie in understanding the world around you, and that includes the economics, this is a superb course. The deep friendships of the alumni alone are worth the rather hefty price-tag. Whilst COVID-19 may have halted my final module to Asia for now, delaying my thesis by a year, I cannot wait to get back to the reading lists, exams, dissertations and experiences that are rolled in to one on this MBA. Pencil cases and flight-bags at the ready!

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