New apprenticeship scheme launches to boost diversity

Marketing Debuts: Brainchild of The Industry Club, led by Melissa Smith (top), with Adam & Eve's Jemima Monies (bottom)

Marketing Debuts: Brainchild of The Industry Club, led by Smith (top) and ‘strongly supported’ by Adam & Eve’s Jemima Monies

Agencies and brand owners alike are being urged to sign up for a new apprenticeship scheme, designed to attract people within minority and low social mobility groups who might not consider marketing as a career and those looking to build one.

Marketing Debuts is the brainchild of The Industry Club, a specialist provider of recruitment services, executive search and training for the creative communications industry, as part of a drive to combat the lack of diversity in the creative sector.

Targeted at 18- to 25-year-olds, the scheme is designed to equip apprentices with core skills and competencies needed to operate to post-pandemic ways of working.

With over 12 years in talent solutions, The Industry Club has developed Marketing Debuts with a Government-approved apprentice ‘standard’ into a highly relevant commercial programme created for disruptive times.

The Level 4 Marketing Debuts scheme will run in partnership with Government-regulated apprentice provider The Opportunity Group.

Starting from January 2021, the 13-month programme consists of two unique and highly relevant commercial apprenticeships “Creative Project Management” and “Social Media & Community Management”. Apprentice candidates can apply to Marketing Debuts through The Industry Club’s website by October 19 2020.

Creative Project Management specialises in training managing creative projects in agencies or marketing departments. Learners could be placed in project management, account management, new business or production teams.

The programme covers topics such as project scoping and risk mitigation, producing effective project documentation and evaluation, resource management and procurement and negotiation.

Social Media & Community Management specialises in successfully managing a brand’s social media channels and its communities. Candidates will acquire skills relevant for social media, data and community management, PR and crisis management teams.

The programme covers topics such as social media strategy, growing online communities, conflict management, social listening, neuro linguistic programming, data analysis and cybersecurity.

Training is provided through The Industry Club’s training arm, The Industry School, from industry experts who use real marketing case studies and practical methods to produce demonstrable “on the job” skills.

Adam & Eve DDB has become on of the first agencies to join the scheme. Deputy managing director Jemima Monies said: “We strongly believe that supporting and developing the next generation of talent, who may have not previously considered advertising as a career or come from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, is vital to our future success, and we cannot wait to welcome some new faces into the agency soon.”

Industry Club founder and managing director Melissa Smith added: “We’ve worked in the industry for many years, being our clients’ trusted talent partner, and we recognise we have a responsibility to ensure that every gender, age, race, religion and sexual orientation are all given opportunities to work in the creative sector.

“Businesses have radically changed how people work and post-pandemic skills and ways of working will be crucial to building business resilience. We’ve trained thousands of school leavers and this scheme brings together our expertise in recruitment and training, bringing underrepresented groups to our industry and into key roles.”

Participating agencies or brand owners will be able to fund either a new learner or upskill a current employee into a creative role through the Apprenticeship Levy, the UK tax on employers that funds apprenticeship training.

Business that are Apprenticeship Levy payers are still able to fully deliver funded programmes as the Government has created a levy donor programme, where large companies can donate their unspent levy funds to smaller companies, which can be fully managed by The Opportunity Group.

Earlier this year, more than 200 UK agency and industry chiefs vowed to take “deep, lasting action” against racism, and achieve greater equality within the creative sectors in the wake of global protests over the death of George Floyd.

In an open letter, drawn up by industry group Creative Equals, bosses committed to a ten-point plan to tackle an issue which they admit “is so ingrained within the fabric of society and our sector, this is a problem we need to take action on together to affect change”.

According to the most recent IPA industry census data, published in April 2020, the sector has gone backwards at a leadership level, with 4.7% of executives being recorded as BAME in 2019, compared to 5.5% in 2018.

Meanwhile, just 4.7% of C-suite executives were from a BAME background, down from 5.5% in 2018. People from BAME backgrounds also make up a slightly smaller proportion of the overall workforce, down 0.1 percentage point to 13.7%.

Agencies and brands can register their interest in Marketing Debuts by contacting

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