Publicis launches apprentice scheme for diversity push

The OAYoung people from marginalised communities are being offered a new path into advertising with the launch of a Publicis Groupe-backed programme, enabling recruits to learn the fundamentals of the industry, understand the types of role on offer and the career opportunities available.

The Open Apprenticeship (OA) is an interactive platform which has been built by Publicis’ Marcel team and is currently in beta; it aims to reach 10,000 people in its first year alone.

The outreach will initially focus on reaching young people from ethnic minority and low income backgrounds and by 2022, the outreach will be widened to attract talent from other underrepresented groups, including disabled people.

The launch of the programme coincides with a well-documented decline in job prospects for young people, which has disproportionately affected people from ethnic minority and low income backgrounds, as well as disabled people.
The scheme will reach talent through partnerships with career advisers, schools, colleges and community groups.

Launch partners include Future TalentEd, Brixton Finishing School, Apprentice Nation, MultiVerse, Pathways CTM and the School of Marketing.

As the OA is open sourced, it offers a platform for other companies and organisations to tap into as a route to talent from underrepresented groups.

Publicis Groupe UK has committed to creating new jobs for people who go through the OA and has even entered a partnership with the Advertising Association and LHA London to offer discounted rates on safe, serviced accommodation in London to OA candidates who secure jobs with the company.

Candidates will be able to work on real briefs from McDonald’s, Marriott International, Fossil and other clients, and receive feedback. The eight module programme is aimed primarily at 18-21 year olds from ethnic minority and low social mobility backgrounds but there is no upper age limit and anyone can access the platform.

The simple step-by-step curriculum has been created by senior strategists from across Publicis Groupe UK’s 22 agencies, giving candidates access to a pool of mentors from across Publicis Groupe UK as well as being able to attend virtual events and networking forums.

Publicis Groupe UK chief executive Annette King said: “We work in a white middle-class industry and that has to change for the good of society, and because it’ll make this industry stronger. As we emerge from the pandemic, we have a responsibility to build back better – we owe it to ourselves and to society at large. We’ve created a blueprint and we are asking our industry colleagues to join us and help change the face of advertising for the better.”

The has the backing of David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice. He said: “A creative economy is a diverse economy. As drivers of consumer behaviour, it is imperative that the advertising industry reflects the racial, gendered and sexual makeup of customers in the community. By empowering more young people from marginalised sections of society to acquire a seat on the table, the Open Apprenticeship is a beacon of innovative inclusion.”

The OA is expected to expand to Publicis Groupe’s US market later this year.

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