WPP media agency Group M is aiming to play a key role in attracting new talent to the industry with the launch of its first Digital Academy, designed to allow young apprentices to specialise in search, social, programmatic and ecommerce.
The company is creating more than 100 roles for diverse, entry-level employees over the next 12 months in both London and Manchester.
The Academy is part of a wider investment in wooing the next generation and will be run in a partnership with education tech start-up Multiverse, funded by the Apprenticeship Levy.
Applications are now open, with assessment days to take place mid-July. All the roles are open to people without university qualifications.
The Academy is designed to deliver best-in-class training, with specialist classes and one-to-one coaching. Over the 15-month programme, apprentices will cover topics ranging from digital marketing principles to the basics of coding. Specifically, their first six weeks will be focused entirely on training; getting them up to speed in how digital works, their specialist areas and hands-on in specific platforms, including Google and Facebook.
Group M comprises six agencies – Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence and M/Six – handling $63bn worth of annual media spend.
The apprentices will have the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading brands, including Ford, Google, L’Oréal, Unilever, PSA Group, Danone, Nestlé and LVMH. Last month, the group forecast that digital advertising would grow by 33% in 2021.
Mediacom North chief operating officer Paul Cooper said: “Digital marketing as a specialism is seeing huge growth, especially over the last 16 months creating a massive demand for people with these specialist skillsets.
“However, people with these skillsets are in short supply, at Group M we want to train the next generation to help us continue to grow. We are passionate about recruiting non-graduates and giving people real apprenticeships in an industry that will dominate the next 20 years in terms of media consumption.
“We want young, diverse talent from any and all backgrounds that reflect the society we market our clients products to. We have a people first philosophy which runs through everything we do and believe.
“We are looking for applicants to help us build our business and your career whilst having fun as we do it. You don’t have to have a degree to succeed in our business, most of our senior people have come through the business learning by doing on the job training, the industry is that fast paced it’s the best way to learn.”
Multiverse founder and CEO Euan Blair added: “Recruiting talented digital marketers is essential to media and advertising agencies around the world, and apprenticeships are becoming the best way to find and develop that talent. The expansion of Group M’s apprenticeship programme will create career defining opportunities for talented people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
“Professional apprenticeships offer a unique and exciting way for great companies to invest in their workforces and develop leaders of the future. Apprenticeship skills are taught, tested and learnt through immediate application in the workplace – that makes them a highly effective way to equip people with the skills they need to be successful.”
Such apprentice schemes will be a welcome boost to school-leavers. Last week, a study carried out by analytics platform Tableau revealed the Covid pandemic appears to have exacerbated the digital and data skills crisis, with more than half (54%) of sixth-formers believing the outbreak has caused greater disruption to their skills-based learning, leaving them less prepared to enter the workforce.
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