UM unites with TikTok and Spotify to woo young guns

schoolUM, the IPG-owned global marketing and media agency network, has joined the crusade to attract non-graduates to the media and creative industry by striking a partnership with Spotify and TikTok to launch a modular training scheme to develop core employability skills for school-leavers.

Launching this month, the Futureproof Academy’s first partner school will be Feltham-based Springwest Academy, where more than 300 Year 10 and 11 students will take part in modules developed and delivered by UM and TikTok staff.

The course has been designed to equip young people with the core skills they need to get started in today’s data-driven digital world. This will be put into a real-world context through sessions delivered in collaboration with TikTok and Spotify. Students will also have an opportunity to work on a live Spotify brief and present their ideas direct to the client team.

The programme will incorporate office visits, mentoring and the opportunity for students to complete a summer internship at UM before they move on to further education or careers.

The ultimate goal is for Futureproof Academy to show that a career in media is something that people from all backgrounds can aspire to. UM is looking to extend the programme to more schools, particularly those with an ethnically and socially diverse intake of students.

UM managing partner for communications and culture Alice Archer said: “As an industry, we are very aware we have a way to go when it comes to building a more diverse workforce. We’re proud of the diversity within the UM community, but we know there is still more we can do.

“We hope by engaging with young people before they make further education decisions, we will be able to bring whole new talent pools into the media. More diverse perspectives will ultimately help us all make more creative and culturally relevant work for clients. By engaging with young people at a grass roots level we hope to bring in fresh perspectives that will help us future proof our clients’ businesses.”

Springwest Academy head of careers Emily Chapman added: “Our primary aim is to inspire students and equip them with real world work skills they need. The course offers a highly engaging programme of learning and practical activities.

“I’m sure it will open many students’ eyes to a career they might not otherwise have considered. Futureproof Academy sends a clear message to pupils that a career in media is open to all.”

Spotify EMEA media strategy lead Tasha Lenton concluded: “We have a great responsibility as one of the leading brands in the UK and Ireland to help drive change culturally. Bringing greater diversity into our industry is thus an absolute priority for us.

“We were very keen to be involved in this initiative and hope it will equip the students with both the skills and the confidence to make them consider careers with companies like our own. I suspect we have as much to learn from this new generation of talent as they will from us.”

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