When Dan Fastnedge started his studies at AUT he thought he was going to be an engineer. But he got swayed by the more creative world of advertising, and decided to pursue a Bachelor of Communication Studies. It was the beginning of a whole new life and now – after ten years in the industry, including five in London – Dan has returned to Auckland with a passion for his craft.
“I always knew I’d come back to New Zealand one day, and when there was an opening at AUT for my former lecturer’s position I jumped at the chance. So I’ve come back and I’m working with people who lectured me.”
Dan’s great experience as a student at AUT influenced his decision to return. He’s had first-hand experience of what it takes to make a career in the creative industries overseas, and he’s certain that AUT students have the best possible resources.
“I think AUT’s communications course is the best in New Zealand. Other schools just don’t offer what we do – we have great facilities in beautiful buildings with things like TV studios, a radio station and motion capture labs.”
AUT offers a work placement as part of the programme, and Dan says it’s such a great opportunity for students to find out exactly where their skills lie.
“It’s how I got my first job. There was a competition from an agency – they came in and briefed us, and the winning team got to go in and work for them.
“I see students under a lot of pressure in deciding what aspect of advertising they want to work in. With a work placement they find out exactly what suits them.”
Ready for anything
And take it from somebody who knows: AUT’s creative graduates are highly sought-after.
“Internationally, New Zealand has a fantastic creative reputation – New Zealand and Australia punch above their weight. Our graduates go on to work internationally at top agencies, and I love that I can help them go out and do amazing things.
“We’ve had great feedback from industry: they like our creatives. And for those students who go down strategic and executive routes, we make sure that they’ve also had experience of the creative side, so when they’re dealing with briefs they understand the different points of view. It makes for a very well-rounded person.”