Creative Equals launches 'returners' programme

The scheme targets women returning to work after an extended break.

Creative Equals: Hanan
Creative Equals: Hanan

Creative Equals is launching a government-backed programme to help women in the creative indstries return to work.

The Returners programme will run next year and has received a £65,000 grant from the Government Equalities Office.

Creative Equals, an organisation championing diversity in the creative industries, hopes its two-week initiative will provide the support to help two dozen women land jobs.

The programme will upskill its participants and is designed for copywriters, user experience specialists, art directors, producers, strategists, data analysts, designers and concept creatives.

It will take place in Manchester and London in March next year to coincide with International Women’s Week and is one of only five initiatives awarded a grant by the Equalities Office's start-up fund.

Creative Equals ran a similar scheme a couple of years ago as a one-off, but with the government grant it is now hoping to run an ongoing Returners programme at scale.

Some 30 brand and agency partners have already signed up to next year's programme, including Lego, Facebook and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. The partners will host a four- to six-week placement and those taking part will be supported by a dedicated coach throughout.

Creative Equals founder Ali Hanan said: "We are so honoured to receive this fund, which will mean we can build more bridges back to work for creative women. Our programme is a direct response to the difficulties returning carers face when attempting to re-enter the world of work.

"Just when creatives are stepping up to leadership roles, parenthood or caring duties come along. With out-of-date portfolios, a career gap and a biased recruitment sector, the barriers to re-entry are huge. The most forward-thinking brands and agencies in the UK are our founding partners, helping us build a sustainable programme, which we aim to grow year on year."

Hanan founded Creative Equals in response to the lack of gender diversity in creative positions.

Only 12% of creative directors are women, despite 85% of purchasing decisions being made by them.

Rachel Gott will be leading the application process for the returners programme and says candidates need to "have been out for an extended break".

Companies that have signed up so far include: Adam & Eve/DDB, AMV, AnalogFolk, Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, Brilliant Basics, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, DDB Remedy, ForPeople, Geometry, Grey London, Havas, Huge, Iris, Isobel, Jellyfish, Karmarama, Lego, M&C Saatchi, MRM McCann, MullenLowe, Nike Girl Effect, Rapp, RPM, St Luke's, The Dots, The Marketing Store, Toaster, Uncommon Creative Studio, Unit9, Wavemaker, We Are Social, Wieden & Kennedy and Wunderman.