Marketing and communications group Havas UK will use the UK government’s Kickstart scheme to triple the intake of its entry-level placement scheme, HKX Platform.
HKX Platform annually takes in about 30 people a year for three-month placements, but through using the government’s Kickstart scheme, the company said it will be able to develop 100 entry-level roles for six months across its agencies in London, Manchester and Cirencester.
The government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme, part of the chancellor’s Plan for Jobs, provides funding to employers to create six-month job placements for young people between the ages of 16 and 24, who currently claim Universal Credit.
Although the government’s scheme covers the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contribution for 25 hours a week, Havas will be able to provide the London Living Wage and full-time positions for all of its new employees.
The 100 new roles consist of two intakes of 50 people before the end of the year and span disciplines including data analytics, digital marketing and design.
One of the stipulations of the Kickstart Scheme is that the jobs created must be new jobs and cannot replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours.
As a result, Havas will develop the roles as placements but the end goal is to create as many permanent positions as possible, according to Ewen MacPherson, group chief people officer at Havas UK.
“I’m astonished at the seemingly low uptake of the Kickstart scheme within our industry,” he said. “We talk about wanting to attract more people from non-traditional backgrounds into our industry; this is the perfect opportunity to do exactly that.
“HKX Platform has always been about creating those opportunities for new talent, so we’re incredibly excited to be able to expand it – particularly at such a tough time for so many young people.”
HKX Platform already targets underrepresented groups through its intake, and Sharon Annafi, group DE&I lead at Havas UK, sees the Kickstart scheme as an opportunity to take that further.
Annafii said: “We have committed to achieving 25% black, Asian and minority ethnic employees by 2025, and HKX Platform – which has always targeted underrepresented talent from diverse backgrounds – is one of the most powerful tools we have to achieve that.
“Utilising the Kickstart scheme increases its scale and scope, and gives us the chance to forge relationships with the job centres serving our local communities, complementing existing partnerships with our local Camden and Islington councils.”
More than 20 agencies are participating across the UK operation, including Havas London, Havas Media and Havas CX Helia.
Vicki Maguire, chief creative officer at Havas London, said: “As a working-class girl from Leicester with no formal advertising training, you don’t need to tell me this industry needs more non-traditional backgrounds. I didn’t know this industry even existed until I was in my twenties.
“The beauty of creativity is that it comes many guises – but unless we actively seek out a greater range of minds, skillsets and experiences, we’ll never unlock its full potential. What I love about HKX Platform is that it gives kids who would never have found our way into this industry the chance to have the same ‘light bulb’ moment I did.”
French media giant Vivendi owns Havas, the world's sixth-largest agency group, which has its UK headquarters at King’s Cross in London.