Connecting Creative Graduates with Industry

by Samantha Fairbrother in Basildon, England, United Kingdom

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TernHeads is a website dedicated to helping graduates find paid internships and full-time jobs in the creative industry.

by Samantha Fairbrother in Basildon, England, United Kingdom


TernHeads is an online membership platform dedicated to improving diversity, promoting fairness and encouraging collective mentorship within the creative industries.

My goals are to increase:
• Access to industry experience and jobs
• The number of businesses offering paid internships
• Collaborations between educators and industry professionals

TernHeads is committed to connecting creative interns, educators and businesses across the UK in multiple ways, all year round.

I want TernHeads to become the online destination for businesses looking for creative interns and junior designers.



• Graduate shows have limited reach, are underfunded and have poor industry turnout.
• Businesses predominantly rely on interns approaching them directly for work experience and jobs. This means the larger, more established agencies tend to get the lions share of access to fresh talent.

Pay & Tax:
• Working for free or low pay for up to 2 years is forcing diverse and talented interns to drop out of the employment race early.
• Employment law and tax is complex and confusing. This causes headaches for businesses who may ultimately decide against hosting or paying interns minimum wage.

Bridging the gap:
• Only some businesses have the time and resources to collaborate with uni’s, yet all businesses require interns to have certain 'industry skills' when they apply for experience and jobs.
• Educators may struggle to find local professionals willing to give up their time to highlight these skills and offer industry insights.



An online community: offering access, flexibility and exposure for creative people across the whole of the UK. 

Optional Tax Compliance Service: taking care of the HR and tax obligations for businesses hosting internships. 

Opportunity Posts: allowing businesses and universities to work together online and offline in multiple ways to suit individual circumstances, expectations and timeframes. These include:
- Internships
- Collaborations (projects, guest speakers, portfolio crits etc)
- Open days / Open Studios
- Sandwich year placements
- Workshops
- Events
- Live briefs
- Competitions

What makes TernHeads unique?

Although there are many portfolio and recruitment websites out there, TernHeads will be tailored exclusively to university students & graduates looking for entry level jobs and internships within the creative industry.


For Interns:

We let your work speak for itself: We won’t rank you by comments, likes or views or pit your work against those who are more experienced.

Learn ‘industry ready’ skills: Our content and forum will be aimed at helping you develop the skills and portfolio you will need to secure your first design job.

Addressing ‘Placement Poverty’: We will encourage companies to offer paid internships and help both parties with tax compliance and contracts.


For Businesses:

Our optional tax service: Gives you a simple day rate for interns while ensuring your company is fully compliant with UK tax and employment law.
Issues such as post Brexit Visa's, IR35 changes, National Insurance and short term contract arrangements can be taken care of by our friendly team of accountants so that you can focus on finding the best fit for your business.

Easier collaboration with educators: Multiple ways to interact with each other. Reach out with unlimited collaboration ads or use our on-site messaging tool to contact portfolio owners directly. 

No recruitment or extension fees: We want you to increase your teams’ diversity in an affordable, risk free way while improving the management and mentoring skills of middle-weight staff.


For Educators:

Easier collaboration with industry professionals: Outline key dates and requirements in your university profile. Explore multiple ways to interact with other members and request participation for different projects or events. 

Upload guidelines: Sign up as a university and add individual staff members who can indicate preferred collaboration dates, outline ground rules and upload project templates specific to their course.


Core Features:

Why internships?

Ensuring a workforce is diverse, committed and multi-skilled is crucial for any business but recruitment for creative agencies can be a particular pain point. Establishing whether a candidate shares your company values, can meet tight deadlines and work well with your existing team is difficult to determine based on interviews alone and can come with hefty fees - especially if you get it wrong.

Internships are a great way for businesses to assess a candidates suitability over time while providing aspiring creatives with meaningful experience along the way.

This Try-Before-You-Buy initiative is a fantastic way to keep your project ideas fresh, your employees challenged and empowered, and allows you to 'give something back' to the next generation of industry pioneers.

About the owner:

I’m Sam, a Senior Graphic Designer at an Award-Winning Design Consultants based in Marylebone, London. I absolutely love my job, the people and the clients I get to work with, and I hope to enable more young people to go on to experience the same thing in their careers.

I have a BA (Hons) Degree in Graphic Communication from UCA, a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing from the DMI (Digital Marketing Institute) and over 12 years industry experience, specialising in Branding & Packaging Design.


How the idea started:

Part of my role for the last 8 years has been to find, interview and mentor creative interns at my employer’s studio. This personal experience along with consumer interviews and research has given me a deep insight into how the internship process works and how graduate experiences and opportunities have changed over the years.


TernHead Goals:

• To promote fair wages for interns so that the most talented people get hired - not just those who can afford to work for free.

• To increase diversity in all creative sectors so that the UK remains a world leader in design and reflects the world and markets around us.

• To break down geographic and resource barriers to enable closer working relationships between education and industry.

• To stimulate economic growth across the whole country.


How the money will be spent:

The money I raise in these 4 short weeks will pay for the development and build phases of the site and ensure I have a decent MVP (minimum viable product) to launch to market by June this year.

Any money acquired via the membership fee for businesses will be put back into the running of the business to improve user experience and fund innovation.

(If you would like to be part of the first website BETA group, please email me at the mailing list address below)



As a thank you for your generous pledges, please choose from a selection of mugs, prints and tote bags featuring designs from the talented @alice_charlotte_ as well as membership discounts for Social Bee and TernHeads to ensure you can be one of the first to try out the new website yourself.

With your support we can make TernHeads a reality and help the graduates of 2020 kick-start their careers with a platform that works for everybody.

Join in and help spread the word!

Mailing list:


Facebook Community:

Facebook Page:

Instagram: @ternheads

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me so far.
It means so much and will help so many.

Sponsored by:

Donations will be available once the project is live.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

One Good Tern

One million "Thank you's" and good karma to you! To donate more just add it on after you have hit the pledge button.

£10 or more

...Deserves Another

Thank you so much for believing in my project. I will send you a personalised email thanking you for your support and updating you on the progress the business is making.

£15 or more

A5 Print

Thank you for your support. Choose one of the 6 illustrations by Alice Charlotte to appear on your A5 print. You can find visual examples at the bottom of the crowdfunding page.

£20 or more

Portfolio Feedback

If you are looking for a career in Graphic Design, send me your portfolio and I will take a look for you. There might be some hints and tips I can share to really boost your chances of nailing your next interview.

£25 or more

0 of 20 claimed

Mug design by Alice Charlotte (illustrator)

Thank you for your support. Choose one of the 6 illustrations by Alice Charlotte to appear on your mug. You can find visual examples at the bottom of the crowdfunding page.

£30 or more

Tote bag design by Alice Charlotte (illustrator)

Thank you for your support. Choose one of the 6 illustrations by Alice Charlotte to appear on your tote bag. You can find visual examples at the bottom of the crowdfunding page.

£35 or more

TernHeads Business Membership - 3 month free trial

Enter this reward code upon sign-up and it will be added to any additional promos or free trials advertised on the site at the time of launch. NOTE: TernHeads Business Membership is a function for design-centric businesses only. Business membership usually £25 per month.

£50 or more

BADGE = TernHeads Ambassador

Pin your TernHeads profile with an 'Ambassador’ badge and feature on our ‘thank you’ page. We will also give you a 3 month free trial code on top of any launch promos if you are part of a business, or a free portfolio crit if you are a budding designer. For donators who support the idea but won’t actively use the site, you will be featured on the TernHeads thank-you page so everyone can see the amazing people who made TernHeads a reality.

£50 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Social Bee: 6 month free trial

Thanks to my friends at Social Bee I can offer 10 lucky donators a six month free trial code worth £106. Social Bee is an all-in-one social media management platform with multichannel publishing. To help you get more leads with less effort, automate your social media posting & more so you can focus on what truly matters. Bolt on concierge services to help you create evergreen content, write blogs and grow your audience.

£100 or more

BADGE = Ultimate Head Turner

As a thank you for investing we would love to pin your TernHeads profile with an 'Ultimate Head Turner' badge for all users to see. We will also give you a 3 month free trial code. NOTE: This reward applies to all TernHeads website users. Membership Fees = Business membership £25 per month / Students Premium membership (unlimited project upload and early access to content) = £10 per month.

£500 or more

TernHead Partner - Featured + FREE Membership

As a thank you for investing we would love to pin your TernHeads profile with a 'TurnHead Partner' badge for all users to see. We will also feature your business logo or mug shot on our website 'Thank you' page (including a clickable link to your website) and send you a 1-year free membership code for your business.

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