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first direct bank’s Dabble Sessions inspire career changes

11 Jun 2018

Comedian Iain Stirling signs up to first direct ’s event to try his hand at learning new skills

first direct challenged stand-up comedian, writer, and presenter Iain Stirling to take part in the ‘Dabble Sessions’, a series of hands-on workshops run by a group of successful hobbyists-cum-entrepreneurs.

Having already switched career himself from law to stand-up comedy, Iain’s proved he’s not afraid to master new skills, and he threw himself into the Dabble Sessions to try his hand at graffiti art, meringue making and kirigami (a paper cutting art to you and me).

The ‘Dabble Sessions’ are master-classes created to launch first direct ’s new suite of welcome gifts, which offer customers who switch to the bank a choice of self-development courses*, travel vouchers, or latest tech, so they too might discover a new passion – or even make a life-change.

Switching skills in higher demand for entrepreneurial Brits

Research from first direct found there’s a definite pent-up demand for self-development, with less than half (43%) of UK adults confident they’re in the right career, and Millennials the least likely of any generation to feel they’re in the right career (32%).

Of this group, one in five (21%) Millennials claim to have already switched careers and the same amount are actively considering doing the same at the moment. They’re also the most likely group to learn a new skill to develop a ‘side hustle’ (13% versus a UK average of 8%), which is freelance or contract work outside their main job or just a passion project.

It’s not just work satisfaction that creates hunger for experiences, however, as almost a fifth (18%) of UK adults report learning new skills/hobby is an important life goal.

Love Island’s Iain Stirling gets handy with the Dandy

Iain joined sessions run by the Paper Dandy himself Marc Hagan-Guirey, who’s known for his world famous Star Wars kirigami exhibition and books.

Paper Dandy’s foldy, cutty session helped Iain and fellow attendees to make their own gallery-ready masterpiece from paper, while Marc created a brand new pop-up paper artwork of the iconic London skyline especially for the Dabble Sessions.

He also got his hands dirty with Meringue Girls, who are rated as one of London’s best foodie master-classes by the Evening Standard. Iain learnt how to mix, colour, flavour, pipe and package gorgeous meringue kisses in a hands-on and fun environment.

Unlike the kisses on Love Island however, these meringue kisses didn’t break anyone’s hearts, but could lead to a new hobby, career or spot on Great British Bake-off.

Iain also joined street art royalty the Graffiti Kings who’s CV includes running workshops for the star-studded casts of Hollywood blockbuster films, and use the very latest approaches in street art to help people unleash their creativity while learning to cooperate and compete with others.

Commenting, Iain Stirling said: “The great thing about first direct ’s Dabble Sessions is meeting these amazing people that have gone from their everyday jobs, tried something novel and found their own new passion. And they love it. That resonates with me because I was studying law – and I enjoyed university – but there was never something that particular inspired me or drove me, until I found comedy.

“I think a lot of people are stuck doing something they don’t really want to do, in a position they don’t want to be in, for fear of failing. But taking those first steps can lead to something brilliant. Also like me trying something new might let you dabble with meringue making and spray painting, which is pretty cool.”

Zoe Burns-Shore, Head of Brand and Marketing at first direct , added: “first direct ’s research into our customers shows they put a far higher premium on new experiences than they do on cash, but until now no bank has offered an experiential switching incentive.

“Travel and the opportunity to try new things both resonate much more with this group, so as

a digitally advanced and customer-focused bank, we’ve changed the whole way we incentivise switching in order to give more people access to brilliant experiences.

“The Dabble Sessions show a new experience might just be a fun way to spend a day, but it might also be the first step in turning a long-held dream into a reality.”


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