News and events

New! Graduate Onboarding Programme

Closing Date for Applications - Friday 24th August 2018

Following feedback from design business and creative agency owners and fully supported by Skillnet Ireland, we are delighted to announce a new 5 module Graduate Onboarding Programme to support employers.

Recent graduates are key hires for design and creative agencies. They bring excellent design skills from our best educational programmes. However, many graduates have never worked in a business environment before and depend on employers and team members to help them to successfully onboard into the agency and to build their early career.   

Many employers have told us that they would value more support in helping their new graduate hires to develop the skills and insights needed at the vital early stage of their careers, to allow for successful on-boarding for both parties.   

If you’ve are about to hire a new graduate and would like to avail of a 100% funded, practical Onboarding Programme for them and you…read on! 

Fuly funded by Design Enterprise Skillnet, this course is strictly limited to 10 participants and is in high demand.  

Closing Date for Applications – Friday 24th August 2018 


How does it work? 

  • Programme developed specifically for Design Enterprise Skillnet based on discussions with design and creative agency owners
  • 1-1 employer calls will be held ahead of finalising course content to ensure takeaways and findings can be addressed 
  • Five half-day workshops, taking place fortnightly from September 2018
  • Workshops will be highly participative with focus on discussion and interactivity throughout 
  • Focus on practical application of key learning points so to ensure a successful onboarding experience for agency and recent graduates alike 
  • Each graduate will have a one-to-one mentoring session with the Course Leader, Derek Howard, CEO of The Customer, to focus on the topics of most relevance to them. Extra mentoring sessions can be booked for an additional fee
  • Employer workshop to ensure the programme meets the business needs and to bring employers up to date on the latest trends and success factors in hiring and retention  

Who should attend? 

Recent graduates looking to build a career in a design or creative agency 

Workshop dates 

Business Owners Workshop: 6th September  2018

Graduate Workshop dates: 

Wednesday 12 September, 10am to 3pm 
Wednesday 26 September, 10am to 3pm 
Wednesday 10 October, 10am to 3pm 
Wednesday 24 October, 10am to 3pm 
Wednesday 7 November, 10am to 3pm 


No cost to employers or graduates. This course is entirely funded by Skillnet Ireland at a cost of €995 per participant.   


Places are strictly limited, so early booking is essential.  Apply directly to 
Closing Date for Applications – Friday 24th August 2018 


Iconic Offices – The Greenway
Block C, Ardilaun Court
112-114 St Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2 


What’s covered in the course 

Workshop 1 – Personal brand and office etiquette 

  • What’s my personal brand and what does it say about me? 
  • Feedback from my employer and how I can respond 
  • Taking ownership and responsibility for your work 
  • Best practice office etiquette and why it’s important 
  • Focus on time management, presenting yourself well, remembering important information and keeping a tidy organised workspace 

Workshop 2 – Teamwork and collaboration 

  • Key behaviours of high performing teams 
  • Planning work and taking briefs from others 
  • Keeping the team up to speed on progress 
  • Getting help, ideas and feedback on the job 
  • Seeking and responding to on-the-job feedback 
  • Being a team player and helping others

Workshop 3 – Client engagement and interaction 

  • Best practice communications with clients whether by email, phone or in person 
  • The client – agency relationship and your role in it 
  • Keeping clients up to speed on progress 
  • Seeking internal input and ideas on client work 
  • Seeking and responding to on-the-job feedback

Workshop 4 – Meetings and presentations 

  • Preparing yourself for client meetings 
  • Understanding and meeting client expectations 
  • Engaging with the wider team ahead of the meeting 
  • Getting the presentation content and messaging right 
  • Anticipating and responding to questions 
  • Handling pushback 
  • Wrapping up and agreeing next steps

Workshop 5 – Development and progression 

  • Setting goals, targets and tracking progress 
  • The importance of feedback in your development 
  • Different types of feedback and how to put these in place 
  • Responding to feedback and development points 
  • Mentoring from others – both internal and external  
  • Taking ownership for your professional development 
  • Proactively seeking new opportunities  
  • Sharing feedback with others


About The Trainer 

Derek Howard is the founder and CEO of ‘The Customer’ and will lead and deliver our new Graduate Onboarding Programme.  

Derek is passionate about helping leaders and their people build stronger customer relationships, win more business and increase team engagement. Always with a focus on excellent service and strong commercial results. 

He also coaches and advises senior executives and their teams on their business growth, people engagement, talent development, teamwork and communication strategies which will be essential to this programme in working with both employers and graduates for mutual benefit.

Derek has also developed and delivered bespoke training and coaching programmes throughout Europe on sales, pitching, fee negotiation, relationship building, networking and key account management. 

He has over 20 years’ experience working as a sales and marketing consultant and a qualified executive coach. 

How to Apply

Places are strictly limited, so early booking is essential.  Apply directly to 
Closing Date for Applications – Friday 24th August 2018