In Good Company… with Agent Marketing and Agent Academy. As part of our ongoing series, we catch up with businesses across the City Region to ask them the big question: what makes a ‘good’ business?
Agent is an award-winning independent, full-service brand and communications agency based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, working across the UK creating work that leaves a positive and lasting commercial and social impact. Agent was founded in 2006 by Paul Corcoran, out of a passion and determination to deliver marketing services differently – putting people and the planet at the heart of everything it does.
“Being a good business is a fundamental part of who we are and what we do. We have always placed a huge emphasis on the wellbeing of our team, both physically and mentally – it’s a key component to how we work. People and planet have always been real cornerstones of our business,” says CEO Paul Corcoran. “We are committed to driving down our carbon footprint which is why we’re continuously looking to improve our supply chain, reviewing the technology we all use and identifying new ways of digitalising our processes. We have communal bikes for our team to use, and encourage them, where possible, to leave the car at home and cycle to and from work or between meetings. It’s good for their health and the environment.”
This approach has seen Agent introduce an innovative roster of benefits that have reinvented the working day for its team. “In addition to free bikes, we also offer regular wellbeing activities and flexible working,” he says, “with shorter working days for them to enjoy a comfortable work life balance.”
It’s a question of leading by example says Paul, who encourages businesses across the city region to do the same.
In 2014, Paul launched Agent’s sister social enterprise, Agent Academy CIC to create equal job opportunities for young people, finding diverse talent for the creative and digital industries through industry-designed training programmes. In the last seven years, Agent Academy CIC has trained hundreds of North West talent helping over 95% of them find full time permanent positions within the creative, digital and tech sectors.
Agent Academy is a prime example of its commitment to prompting industry-wide change. “Agent Academy exists to nurture the next generation of talent into the digital, creative and tech sectors, by breaking down barriers and opening the industry up to those who often find themselves locked out,” says its director, Zoe Wallace. “Over the past seven years, we have helped support hundreds of young people into long-lasting careers – and are now being recognised as an example of best practice when it comes to digital industry skills development in the UK.”
However, the learning doesn’t stop when graduates leave the Academy; it’s central to Agent’s approach across the business. Paul says: “We realised that having dedicated learning time is important to allow our team to have the time and space to develop, implementing a weekly learning hour for them to learn, read, understand and ultimately progress.” He says. “We also host monthly briefings at breakfast sessions to give individual team members time to present their thoughts on something they’re passionate about – which has been a great way to enhance learning, connect the whole team and build confidence.”
“Agent Academy is pioneering ideas for inclusive growth when it comes to the environmental impact, innovation, talent and diversity,” says Zoe. “Earlier this year, we partnered with the Anthony Walker Foundation to launch an anti-hate crime campaign across Liverpool City Region. The campaign was co-created by a diverse group of young people who went on to gain employment as a direct result of the experience they gained.”
“Equality and diversity has and always will be a major focus for us,” agrees Paul. “We’ve expanded our supply chain to work with more ethnic minority owned businesses, reviewed our recruitment practices and improved our support systems, encouraging greater diversity and inclusion across all aspects of the business.”
Building a business that is fit for the future is not just a question of environmental sustainability, but of skills and looking to the next generation, says Zoe: “To continue supporting our young people during times of change, we have had to be versatile and act with an innovative spirit,” she says. “One of the ways we did this was by launching our new e-learning platform, Leap, helping those who lost their jobs or were furloughed throughout the pandemic, to learn new digital marketing skills and secure a career in the digital industry.” Since launching in 2020, the flexible e-learning platform now has over 2,000 active learners, she says.
“Skills for the industry are in demand, and we want to help solve the talent gap experienced by many employers,” says Zoe. “Working together with our industry partners to support and usher in the next generation of talent. Collaboration is key and we are always open to opportunities to connect and work together with other good businesses. “
Name: Paul Corcoran and Zoe Wallace
Job title: CEO and Director
Company: Agent Marketing and Agent Academy
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Rob Bremner is a British documentary and editorial photographer, studying at Wallasey College of Art and the School of Documentary Photography at Newport.
He spent summer 2021 capturing good businesses across Liverpool City Region, for the Good Business Festival’s #InGoodCompany series.
Follow Rob Bremner on instagram.
The Good Business Festival is passionately non-exclusive. It’s not about what you do or who you know. It’s not about agreeing on everything all of the time. It’s about everyone working towards a better world – no matter where you’re starting from.