Recognising that the traditional path to get into the industry has been non-inclusive, many advertising agencies are putting long-term practices in place to build a more equitable pipeline into their offices. The result is a whole host of schemes, placement programmes and opportunities for emerging creatives to get a foot in the door of the ad world. From paid internships and immersive courses from industry giants, to link-ups with affordable housing schemes, we’ve collated some of the best programmes out there.
1. Brixton Finishing School
Disrupting how the creative industry recruits, Brixton Finishing School offers free ten-week programmes for 18-25 year olds mainly from underrepresented communities hoping to work in the advertising industry. It’s a feeder organisation that many companies work with to find potential candidates for roles.
Created in 2016, the two-year apprenticeship scheme, based at the global agency’s London HQ, was set up to improve diversity in advertising, as well as in the agency’s own output. In The Pipe, you’ll work on briefs whilst also studying towards a Level 3 qualification, equivalent to two A-Levels. The agency also has a Roots network, created to foster greater ethnic and cultural diversity from the inside.
Wieden+Kennedy’s incubator programme doubles as their own Gen Z agency-within-an-agency, where new talent work on real assignments with clients and deadlines. The programme is always looking for writers, photographers, artists, designers, filmmakers, animators and coders looking for a chance to learn, teach and make something.
First Bite is adam&eveDDB’s creative placement scheme, with a fixed six-month employment contract at the renowned communications agency. It’s open to all, and you’ll shadow creatives and work on live briefs, have one-to-one sessions with creative directors and be assigned a mentor. Applications are slated to reopen in the summer of 2022.
No Trace’s BAME Initiative was created to address the lack of representation of crew from BIPOC backgrounds within the advertising production industry. It offers opportunities and support in the form of mentoring and short-term paid roles in junior, trainee, assistant and entry-level positions.
Channel 4 plays host to several programmes that foster new talent and promote access for young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Their design-focused initiative is Content Creatives, a 14-week paid training and placement opportunity aimed at 18-24 year olds in Leeds and Manchester, offering the chance to kickstart a career in creative digital media.
Jolt Academy is an arm of the AK Creative talent matchmaking company, which works with both the UK’s leading diversity organisations and major advertising agencies such as Mother, Engine, Grey and BBH to match them with top talent from all kinds of backgrounds, with a focus on those that are underrepresented.
An organisation which aims to find talent, improve skills and champion diversity in the creative industry, The Industry Club has created various paid apprenticeships pairing Black, Brown, Asian, Arab and minority ethnic candidates with brands and agencies. Last year, the Marketing Debuts scheme also began offering entry-level roles as well as apprenticeships.
Advertising icon M&C Saatchi’s Open House is a free eight-week online training course which aims to introduce participants to, and demystify, the world of advertising – no prior experience necessary. Registration for the 2022 cohort opens this summer.
Commercial studio SampsonMay is offering a 12-week internship programme for designers who are just starting out. You’ll work on projects for a range of clients and get to experience life within a busy studio, while also being mentored. The ideal candidate will be a design graduate, and there is potential for the internship to be extended for a further paid 12-week period. Applications close 18th August 2022.
Brand consultancy Koto is looking for a brand designer to join the team in London as an intern. The ideal candidate is an optimistic doer who’s excited by youth, tech and big brands, wants to learn and grow, and has a portfolio with examples of idea-led, creative work. Applications close 11th August 2022.
Otherway is a strategy-led brand communications company offering two opportunities for designers to join their studio in London. Their initiative The Good Internship will run for three months between August and October 2022. No formal design degree necessary, just a portfolio that shows great conceptual design and thoughtful execution, along with a passion for branding and good presentation skills. Applications close 12th August 2022.