RMIT Uni students win industry recognition

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Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 6.07.43 am.jpgMelbourne-based RMIT University has recently held a student industry awards night on the rooftop of the prestigious building 80 in the CBD to celebrate the conclusion of the Work Integrated Learning Program for 2018. In attendance were industry professionals from across the marketing and PR landscape, teaching staff, heads of faculty and the students who took part in the program. One of the participating industry partners, Smart Solutions, an award-winning PR firm, collaborated with RMIT University staff to finalise and determine the final selection. The night saw the students presented with certificates for their outstanding work spent on the real-life advertising campaign that provided them with an invaluable experience.   

RMIT Vocational Education students in the field of marketing and communications showcased their design and creative skills developed at RMIT University to work in partnership with industry mentors. One of the briefs was for MoodOff Day, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to raise awareness for smartphone addiction across the country. Erik Bigalk, founder and CEO of Smart Solutions PR, worked closely with this client and assisted students in the program.

Says Bigalk: “It was great to see such a high standard of work. The students at RMIT University are a talented group and I can see them going far in this industry. They took straight to the task, understood exactly what we were looking for and developed some outstanding work. It was exceptional.”

The idea behind the collaboration was to give students the chance to carve industry pathways by working with real clients on live campaigns. Smart Solutions PR jumped at the opportunity to support the Work Integrated Learning Program because it offered a way to mentor the younger generations coming up. The Melbourne based firm was well assisted by the University, including Federico Viola, Teacher for Web and Interactive Design at RMIT, who helped to select the two most worthy students from the Work Integrated Learning and MoodOff Day collaboration.

Says Viola: “It was wonderful to see the people I teach step up and embrace the chance to work with real businesses such as Smart Solutions and the MoodOff Day campaign. My role is to help my students gain the skills and experience to step into a career in this field. I feel like we are really achieving this through these collaborations.”

All finalists received a certificate of recognition for their contribution on the night, while the two winning students had their work included in the digital out of home (DOOH) MoodOff Day campaign launched at the Cox Plate race day, promoting its 24 February 2019 international awareness day.

Harriet Sabien was one of the finalists and found the experience working on the MoodOff Day campaign extremely rewarding.

Says Sabien: “RMIT work so hard to create meaningful relationships with real clients like Erik and the team at Smart Solutions that open up some really amazing opportunities that I didn’t expect to receive as a student.”

MoodOff Day was sparked six years ago by the growing concern around smartphone addiction, particularly in young people. This made it even more fitting given the age bracket of most entrants. Through its work with Smart Solutions, the charitable organisation has increased its media presence substantially and continues to grow.

One of two winners on the night, Bianca Melhem, was elated by the award and grateful for the overall experience that came from the collaboration.

Says Melhem: “I would like to thank Federico, my Teacher. Without his help and feedback, I wouldn’t have been able to create new designs to which he had inspired me to come up with, following a new slogan that resulted in me achieving this award. Thank you, RMIT for this incredible opportunity.”

Smart Solutions PR is a specialised brand positioning, personal profiling, business PR  full-service marketing firm celebrating its ten-year anniversary in 2019. Moving its headquarter to Melbourne in mid-2016 saw the integration of a publishing and media buying division, bringing about unprecedented growth and continued team expansion, which has resulted in multiple award nominations and industry wins.

 Bigalk hopes to continue working with RMIT University in the future: “Connecting with RMIT has been really rewarding in its own way. We would love to continue this partnership moving forward.”

The award winners not only had the opportunity for their work to be published, but they have also been given the opportunity to pursue an internship at Smart Solutions, which is another significant step towards transitioning from student to industry professional. These pathways are one of the many ways that RMIT University continues to set itself apart from others in their field, especially through initiatives like the Work Integrated Learning Program.

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(Pictured L-R: Teacher for Web and Interactive Design at RMIT Federico Viola, Smart Solutions CEO Erik Bigalk, award winner Bianca Melhem, Smart Solutions publicist Myles Birch, Smart Solutions Designer Brigitte Mason, finalist Harriet Sabien, Smart Solutions publicist Mylene Gagne)