Havas UK ramps up entry level scheme for youngsters

Vicki Maguire2Havas UK is turbocharging its entry-level placement scheme, which targets underrepresented talent from diverse backgrounds, to give youngsters the chance to join an industry many probably do not know even exists.

Tapping into the Government’s Kickstart scheme – which aims to help young people into work through high-quality work placements – the group will expand its established HKX Platform threefold by the end of the year, from 30 three-month placements to 100, six-month roles.

More than 20 of Havas’ UK agencies will take part, including Havas London, Havas CX Helia in the capital and Cirencester as well as its Manchester division, targeting underrepresented talent from diverse backgrounds to provide access, experience and a network within the communications industry.

The £2bn Kickstart scheme, part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, provides funding to employers to create six-month job placements for young people (aged 16-24) on Universal Credit. Funding available for each job placement will cover the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.

Havas has chosen to significantly enhance these placements – making them full-time positions paying the London Living Wage.

The 100 new roles – comprising two intakes of 50 people before the end of the year – will span a range of disciplines, including account management, creative, data analytics, digital marketing, design, marketing and new business, management consultancy, production, project management, PR, social media, strategy, and HR.

The jobs aim to help young people, particularly those at risk of long-term unemployment, onto the career ladder, giving them the opportunity to build their skills and experience in the workplace.

Each will include a full personal development programme, including coaching, CV workshops and interview training, and client sessions, as well as general employability and role-specific skills.

The group has committed to achieving 25% Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic employees by 2025. By joining the Kickstart scheme, Havas will the chance to forge relationships with the job centres serving local communities – complementing existing partnerships with local Camden and Islington councils.

Havas London chief creative officer Vicki Maguire (pictured) said: “As a working-class girl from Leicester with no formal advertising training, you don’t need to tell me this industry needs more non-traditional backgrounds. I didn’t know this industry even existed until I was in my twenties!

“The beauty of creativity is that it comes in many guises – but unless we actively seek out a greater range of minds, skillsets and experiences, we’ll never unlock its full potential.

“What I love about HKX Platform is that it gives kids who would never have found our way into this industry the chance to have the same ‘lightbulb’ moment I did.”

Havas UK group chief people officer Ewen MacPherson added: “I’m astonished at the seemingly low uptake of the Kickstart scheme within our industry. We talk about wanting to attract more people from non-traditional backgrounds into our industry; this is the perfect opportunity to do exactly that.

“HKX Platform has always been about creating those opportunities for new talent, so we’re incredibly excited to be able to expand it – particularly at such a tough time for so many young people. At the end of the scheme, our ambition is to convert as many of these Kickstart-backed roles into permanent positions as we can.”

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