Agencies unveil diversity-led apprenticeship programme

diversityThe IPA and Creative Pioneers are backing a new apprenticeship scheme for young creatives, designed to help tackle the dominance of white, middle-class males in creative teams.

Written by agencies for agencies, the Level 3 Junior Creative Apprenticeship Standard has been created to equip recruits from all backgrounds with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to become successful creatives.

It has already been officially approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education and the training will be provided by Ravensbourne University, which will recruit tutors who have industry backgrounds and excellent links to creative and tech businesses.

Fourteen modules, taught over 18 months, will cover topics ranging from taking the creative brief from the account planner, to understanding the client’s requirements; to amending and redeveloping ideas; to working with specialist producers; and managing the pressure of tight deadlines and busy schedules, working on multiple projects simultaneously as required. The majority of training will be carried out remotely, allowing individuals and agencies throughout England to take part.

Participating agencies will be able to use their Apprenticeship Levy to fund either a new starter through the Standard or to upskill a current employee into a creative role.

Data suggests that many agencies are not taking advantage of this valuable financial resource. Meanwhile, agencies that do not pay the Levy can still benefit, with the Government paying 95% of the training cost.

Janet Hull, who is IPA director of marketing strategy and chair of Creative Pioneers, said: “Never has it been more important to diversify the creative department, which for 50 years has mainly been dominated by white, middle class, university-educated men.

“The latest McKinsey report makes it clear that this is not just a moral issue but business critical: those companies with the best diversity and inclusion make more money, solve problems faster, retain and engage better and have better understanding of consumers.

“This new Junior Creative Apprenticeship Standard provides an incredible opportunity for agencies to access and develop the best, most diverse talent to help drive their success, both immediately and into the future. Enormous thanks go to all those involved in bringing this comprehensive programme to fruition.”

The scheme will require a collective commitment from agencies to achieve the required cohort of 25 individuals to start their apprenticeships in September this year. AMV BDDO is one of the first agencies to pledge one of these opportunities.

AMV BBDO human resources director Kelly Knight, who was responsible for helping to create the Standard, said: “[The scheme] gives us an excellent opportunity to welcome those who wouldn’t otherwise think about working as a creative. It offers us the chance to really diversify creative departments across the UK, whilst also providing a structured learning programme that will not only build and refine craft skills, but also enable us to develop individuals with raw creative talent. I urge fellow agencies to help us reshape the future of creativity by joining in and signing up.”

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