Westmeath students encouraged to prove they are Best in Show

Students from across Westmeath are being challenged to prove they are Best in Show in digital media, with a prized internship with an industry leader the reward, under a competition launched this week by the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA ).

Best in Show is an annual competition run by The Digital Hub, which places new digital media and creative graduates in work placements with leading companies in their chosen fields. Final-year students from Co Westmeath - and across Ireland - are now being invited to submit examples of their work to be in with a chance of winning a placement, which they can complete after graduation from college.

Announcing the details of Best in Show 2011, Dr Stephen Brennan, director of marketing and strategy at The Digital Hub, said the competition highlights the many opportunities that exist for creative and digital media graduates in Ireland.

“A survey we conducted amongst companies located at The Digital Hub in recent months showed that - in spite of the recession - the digital media sector has a very positive outlook, with companies predicting economic growth and employment this year of 44 per cent and 43 per cent respectively,” he said. “This means digital media is one area where there are actually going to be job increases in the next few years.

“At the same time, however, our enterprise cluster reports difficulties in finding suitably skilled graduates, with the experience and qualifications needed to work in this competitive environment. Because of this, the Digital Hub Development Agency has developed the ‘Best in Show’ competition – with a strong focus on work placements - to allow new graduates gain invaluable experience by completing work placements with leading companies in their chosen fields.

“I would strongly encourage Westmeath students to consider entering Best in Show. The competition gives the best and brightest graduates an enviable start in digital media companies. What happens next is up to them.”

This year, final-year students are invited to submit samples of their work to Best in Show under any of the following five categories:

1. Digital Design – the winner in this category will receive a work placement with Red Dog, one of Ireland’s leading graphic design companies.

2. Film/ video – winners in this category will receive a placement with Areaman Productions.

3. Multimedia – winners will receive placements with payByMobile and the Tobacco Free Research Institute, both of which are based at The Digital Hub.

4. Animation – winners will receive a work placement with Igloo Animations.

5. Audio/ music – winners will receive placements with Athena Media and Riviera Media Group, leading international audio production companies.

According to Dr Stephen Brennan, those who win work placements through Best in Show significantly improve their employment prospects.

“The chance to gain hands-on work experience in a digital media business gives valuable additional knowledge to new graduates,” he said. “In today’s straitened employment market, this is key. Last year, three of the winners went on to work on a more long-term basis with the companies where they completed their Best in Show placements.”

All entries to Best in Show will be judged by a panel of industry insiders and the closing date for receipt of applications is July 15. For further details of the competition - or to apply - go to www.thedigitalhubexhibit.com/bestinshow

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