IPA agencies' apprenticeship scheme seeks to diversify creative departments

Remote-learning programme aims to train creatives from more diverse backgrounds.

Creative apprenticeship: IPA programme will involve mostly remote training
Creative apprenticeship: IPA programme will involve mostly remote training

A group of agencies and the IPA have developed an apprenticeship scheme aimed at diversifying the traditionally white, middle-class make-up of creative departments. 

The Level 3 Junior Creative Apprenticeship Standard has been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and will be facilitated by Ravensbourne University London, with tutors from industry backgrounds. Most of the training will be carried out remotely to allow people and agencies from across England to take part. 

The 18-month-long programme will comprise 14 modules covering topics such as taking creative briefs from account planners; understanding client requirements; amending and redeveloping ideas; working with specialist producers; and managing tight deadlines with busy schedules and multiple projects. 

Participating agencies will be able to fund either a new starter or upskill a current employee into a creative role through the Apprenticeship Levy, a UK tax on employers that funds apprenticeship training. Agencies that do not pay the levy can still share the cost of the scheme with the government, which funds up to 95% of training under its apprenticeship service. 

The IPA is asking for a collective commitment from agencies in order to achieve the required cohort of 25 people to start the programme in September. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO is one of the first agencies to sign up to offer an apprenticeship. 

Creature chief creative officer Stu Outhwaite-Noel and chief executive Dan Cullen-Shute are spearheading the scheme. The other agencies involved include Brave, Cogent, Crowd, Drum, Drummond Central, Goodstuff Communications, Hunterlodge, ITV, Karmarama, M&C Saatchi, McCann Central (Milton Keynes), Mother, MullenLowe, Now, Ogilvy, Rapp, St Luke’s, The & Partnership, Total Media, VCCP, Wavemaker, Wieden & Kennedy, WPG and Zinc Network.

Janet Hull, director of marketing strategy at the IPA and chair of Creative Pioneers, said: "Never has it been more important to diversify the creative department, which for 50 years has mainly been dominated by white, middle-class, university-educated men. The latest McKinsey report makes it clear that this is not just a moral issue but business critical: those companies with the best diversity and inclusion make more money, solve problems faster, retain and engage better, and have better understanding of consumers. 

"This new Junior Creative Apprenticeship Standard provides an incredible opportunity for agencies to access and develop the best, most diverse talent to help drive their success, both immediately and into the future." 

Outhwaite-Noel added: "With the Junior Creative Apprenticeship Standard, we've at last opened a door to welcome and embrace creative talent who haven't the means to attend traditional advertising courses. This could be a real game-changer, changing the face – and the faces – of advertising creative departments. Get involved and help us knock down that door."

The Junior Creative Apprenticeship Standard is the second in the IPA’s Creative Pioneers apprenticeship programme. It follows the launch of last year’s Advertising and Media Executive Standard, which currently has 65 students participating. Across Creative Pioneers, 41% of apprentices come from an ethnic-minority background, compared with 59% who are white British.