Global Marketing Agency Champions Grimsby Institute

January 2023
January 2023

John Ashbrook

I'm a Senior Writer. I put words together to create sentences. Hey, I'm doing it now! If it needs words, the call goes out: "This is a job for John!" My red phone rings, I slide down my pole, switch my laptop batteries to 'power' and my turbines to 'speed' then I begin typing. What am I going to type this time, I wonder? Let's see ...

Grimsby Institute has offered generations of Grimbarians the pathway to promising careers. And, here at global designer marketing agency, CMA, it just so happens that Grimsby Institute has long been one of the secret ingredients in cooking up our creative success.

Grimsby University Centre – ©Ryder Architecture

Grimsby Institute is a genuine Grimsby institution. Have you walked its hallowed halls? If not, chances are someone in your family has. It’s more than just an educational institution; it’s a cornerstone of our town’s success and that of its surrounding areas.

The trademark blend of academic and vocational study at the Institute propels students towards career acceleration. We see it as a driving force behind the thriving talent in our region.

Read on to discover Grimsby Institute’s impact on CMA and how you too can be a part of our designer marketing agency’s journey.

Grimsby Institute x CMA:
Learning To Earning

Just looking around the office at the CMA House of Ideas, all of our designers and several members of our other teams got to jump-start their careers by studying either at Grimsby’s Further Education college, or at its University Centre. Some of us even taught there!

CMA’s Founder and Managing Director, Matthew Pattinson, is himself a Grimsby Institute veteran. When he established CMA back in 2014, his mission was clear: to cultivate a space in Grimsby that fosters creativity and unlocks opportunities for like-minded individuals. Thus, CMA became a haven where diversity is celebrated.

Our MD, Matthew Pattinson, outside our Telegraph House offices

Our ambitions stretched beyond local horizons. Global web hosting giant GoDaddy joined hands with us and ALLpaQ, an early CMA client, is now the world’s premier manufacturer of plastic bioprocessing containers. They expanded internationally, taking CMA along for the journey. Now other household names such as JP Morgan Chase Bank and Twinkies are getting the rub from CMA’s marketing, design and development, omni-channel service offering.

As Matt puts it, “Grimsby serves as our foundation, enabling us to offer global solutions while partnering with some of the world’s finest brands.”

CMA competes with world-class agencies and works with multinational brands, all from right here in the dreaming spires of Grimsby. We couldn’t do that if we couldn’t call on the talents of world-class local people. We firmly believe a lot of our success is down to the deep pool of creativity that is available locally and which was unleashed by Grimsby Institute.

Let’s have a look at a few case studies from within our ranks:

Grimsby Institute Case Studies

Stefan Georgiou,
Creative Director
Class of 2009

I was studying Computer Science somewhere else, originally, and I realised I preferred the design elements of that course – so jumped ship to concentrate on Creative and Interactive Design at Grimsby Institute.

The Grimsby Institute course helped my personal development – what I wanted to be, how I should go into it, what I should do and, importantly, what I should avoid. I got to explore different skills and find what I was good at and what I enjoyed.

That’s how I learned that my real skills lay in creating brands, building websites and generally in marketing.

So, my Grimsby Institute course gave me confidence about my abilities and it gave me the confidence to talk to people in the industry, which got me my first jobs.

I genuinely believe that doing a degree at Grimsby Institute’s University Centre gives you opportunities – but it doesn’t spoon feed you. You have to have the determination and the energy to do work yourself. You have to learn to solve problems yourself – because that’s the greatest life skill you can learn.

In return, you’ll get to meet and enjoy working with new, fascinating people. You’ll learn a new, professional language. You’ll be driven to discover new skills you didn’t know you had and, if you’re lucky, you’ll find the thing that you love and want to do forever. And, importantly, going to university lets you have fun while you’re learning.

My tutors were very interesting, real characters with a lot of experience that they shared with us. I enjoyed learning from them. Indeed, they impressed me so much, I was happy to go back into the department a few years later to work alongside them.

As a Teacher and Programme Leader, I found that the greatest moment (and I think most teachers will agree) is when you see that lightbulb go on in a student’s eyes. There is that moment of realisation – when you realise that thing you’ve loved your whole life, be it creating video games, writing stories, cooking, caring for animals, fixing cars, whatever – that thing can be your career!

Grimsby Institute is the place where those things you really care about, can become the things you do for a living for the rest of your life.

I learned a lot when I was teaching. My mentoring skills, for example, were developed there and I carry those through into my Creative Director role, now.

When Institute graduates come to CMA, they bring a new perspective – a new energy. They’re full of ambitious ideas and their enthusiasm brings a freshness to the business.

At CMA, we allow people to choose their own fate – to develop their skills in the areas they love. We have a commercial directive, of course, but we’re happy for staff – especially new ones – to experiment.

Through completing a range of jobs for a range of clients, they can find the things they love the most and, provided we can see commercial value in it, we’re happy for them to develop their career in that direction.

Here at CMA, everyone has that passion. We take enthusiasm, along with the skills learned at the Institute, and use them creatively and productively. Why? Because everyone, wherever they are, has the right to build for themselves a good, fun career that they enjoy.

“The talent is here in Grimsby, now the opportunities to go Global are, too!”
Stefan Georgiou – Creative Director

Jake Fitzhugh,
Head of Design Services
Class of 2012

I studied two courses at Grimsby Institute – firstly a Graphic Design Diploma and then I went on to the University Centre to do my Degree in Creative & Interactive Design, for which I received a First!

In 2012, I was working for my grandad’s business and he wanted to have a website – so I went to Grimsby Institute simply to learn how to do that. While there, I found I was really enjoying the course. I enjoyed the subject, the culture and the people I was working with – I had no idea that I was interested in design until I discovered it through my studies.

So, I made the decision to pursue a career in design and felt I should go to university to do that. I was accepted at three unis, but decided on Grimsby, in part, because I was already living in a shared house and already had a part-time job, so learning locally would allow me to continue with all this.

But, also, when I met the staff on the design course, I was really impressed by them and by the facilities that were available – all of which made the course feel very appealing.

There was no sense of ‘making do’, it was the course I wanted at the place I wanted!

I learned about designing for specific needs, working within deadlines and, of course, loads of new design skills.

Working with other creatives with a range of other specialisms was also really interesting – I learned a lot from collaborating with my peers.

And, of course, I learned a lot from my tutors, not just in terms of their skills but also their industry experience. Working in a studio with fellow Creatives prepared me for the real world of work.

Some of the highlights have included working with TeamGB at the Olympics which, being a sporty person, I loved. I have also developed full brand identities from scratch and, now, I get to mentor other designers.

I have recommended the Institute many times – including to my younger brother – because I had a great time there and learned everything I needed to go on and forge a world-class career.

“Grimsby Institute helped give me the confidence to work on global brands and with CMA’s global partners.”
Jake Fitzhugh – Head of Design Services

Ben Fitzhugh,
Digital Marketer
Class of 2014

I studied a degree in Business Management and I purposefully chose Grimsby Institute’s University Centre because it allowed me to get the higher education I wanted, whilst staying local. Like many people, I had commitments so I had to stay local, which meant the Institute gave me an opportunity I would have otherwise missed.

The Grimsby Institute degree was also perfect for me because it included elements of Sociology, Politics and Ethics, which gave the course a more holistic scope – much more than other courses I checked out. I wanted to have that wider experience.

I think the most consistently useful business skills I learned were around people management and dealing with change.

Also, one of the great things Grimsby Institute taught me was how to learn independently. Learning to learn is a fantastically important skill in an ever-changing employment landscape.

Thanks to Grimsby Institute, I am skilled in developing strategies based on my understanding of processes. I can look at a business workflow, or a campaign strategy, and see where issues may arise, so to prevent or mitigate them.

That kind of attention to detail has proven remarkably important in building marketing campaigns. Whilst working at CMA, I have developed skills in a broad spectrum of marketing disciplines including pay-per-click, social media marketing and SEO.

I get to find out what my strengths are and develop them. In some workplaces you get into a groove – you’re doing this specific job and that’s all you do – here I get to explore.

“I love the versatility of work at CMA and I wouldn’t have this opportunity if it weren’t for the wide-ranging, holistic degree I took at Grimsby Institute.”
Ben Fitzhugh – Digital Marketer

Jason Howgate,
IT Operations Specialist
Class of 2012

I took two courses at Grimsby Institute, first there was my Motor Vehicle Apprenticeship, then I followed that with a Computing Extended Diploma.

I chose the Apprenticeship, first, because I had school-based work experience in a motor vehicle business and enjoyed that, so the opportunity to get an Apprenticeship as a mechanic was very appealing.

Although I ultimately decided to take my career in a different direction, I still gained a lot from the Apprenticeship – such as customer support skills and how to speak to customers in a professional way. I developed a great grasp of time management in order to get cars back to customers in good time. I created structured workflows and pre-planned jobs to work most effectively and efficiently. One of the most important things I learned was how to work as part of a team and how to communicate clearly with my co-workers.

Fixing and building computers had always been a hobby, but I’d never seen it as a career option. Then, whilst working at the garage, there were occasions when the company computers needed fixing or updating. I found that I enjoyed doing that even more than fixing the cars. It was a real lightbulb moment for me and I decided I wanted to have a career working under the bonnets of computers instead of cars.

Grimsby Institute offered the exact course I was looking for with a variety of skills that were appealing to me – ranging from 3D Modelling at one end of the spectrum, to Networking at the other.

This was important because, while I knew I wanted to work with computers, I wasn’t yet sure which part of the industry I wanted to specialise in. The Diploma offered such a variety of skills it prepared me for the varied role I now have.

For example, my first pieces of college coursework were around web development fundamentals – followed by building websites. Both of these disciplines immediately proved useful when I started at CMA, as I now help create and maintain the websites that CMA builds and manages.

The structure of the modules at Grimsby Institute were relevant, always fresh and challenging. My interest never waned.

The support I had from the tutors was one of the highlights – no question was too difficult for them. They told me very early on that if they didn’t know something, they would find out – which they did. That is something that I have adopted in my own work. I love being tasked to do things I have never done before. Every day at CMA is a school day!

“Whilst a student, I represented Grimsby Institute in the Inter-College Competition in Web Design. Four years later, because of my role at CMA, I was invited back to judge the competition.”
Jason Howgate – IT Operations Specialist

Calling all Grimsby Institute alumni

The mix of CMA and Grimsby Institute has proven so successful that we want more. More GI graduates! More high-class talent.

So, whether you’re a past or present student of Grimsby Institute, picture the scene: you’re bringing your skills to bear on innovative global marketing campaigns; you’re making your mark on the world stage, from the place you call home. It’s the perfect blend of local pride and global impact and we invite you to be a part of the fun.

Join us at CMA, where you can take your knowledge from the Grimsby Institute and turn it into a force for global marketing success. We’re not just offering a job; we’re offering a home where you can flourish, learn, improve and make your mark.

Ready to blow us away with your elite skills and creativity? Just reach out to us today on

John Ashbrook

I'm a Senior Writer. I put words together to create sentences. Hey, I'm doing it now! If it needs words, the call goes out: "This is a job for John!" My red phone rings, I slide down my pole, switch my laptop batteries to 'power' and my turbines to 'speed' then I begin typing. What am I going to type this time, I wonder? Let's see ...
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