Publicis Groupe UK has launched a programme to help young people from marginalised communities find jobs in the advertising industry.
The Open Apprenticeship (OA) is an interactive digital platform, currently in beta, which offers training in brand strategy, media and PR, creativity, data and technology. It has launched initially in the UK, with plans to roll it out in the US later this year.
Publicis aims to reach 10,000 people with OA in its first year.
The eight module curriculum is aimed primarily at 18- to 21-year-olds from ethnic-minority and low social mobility backgrounds, but there is no upper age limit and anyone can access the platform.
The scheme will partner career advisers, schools, colleges and community groups, including Future TalentEd, Brixton Finishing School, Apprentice Nation, MultiVerse, Pathways CTM and the School of Marketing.
During the programme, participants will be able to work on briefs from brands such as McDonald’s, Marriott International and Fossil and receive feedback from clients. They will also have access to a jobs board, mentors from across Publicis Groupe UK, virtual events and networking forums.
OA is open-sourced and will allow other companies and organisations to find talent from underrepresented groups.
Publicis has promised to create jobs for people who go through the OA programme. It has also partnered the Advertising Association and LHA London to offer discounted rates on safe, serviced accommodation in London to OA candidates who secure jobs with the company.
Magnus Djaba, chief executive of the creative practice at Publicis Groupe UK, said: “Ours is an industry that is closed. An industry full of people who look the same, have similar backgrounds and, often, upbringing. The irony is it’s also an industry looking for new solutions and innovation, from all the same pools of talent.
“If you don’t know someone in the industry, it’s so hard to see in, to understand the careers and opportunities. The Open Apprenticeship is part of our commitment to open up our industry and we invite anyone interested to join us.”
The OA is part of Publicis Groupe’s Embrace Change initiative, which launched last year to promote diversity across its agencies and the wider industry. Along with the apprenticeship scheme, it will include the collection of ethnicity pay data and a charter that sets out the behaviours expected of clients, employees, suppliers and partners.
Publicis Groupe’s Marcel team built the platform.
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, who is also the shadow lord chancellor and shadow secretary of state for justice, has backed the scheme too.
He said: “A creative economy is a diverse economy. As drivers of consumer behaviour, it is imperative that the advertising industry reflects the racial, gendered and sexual make-up of customers in the community. By empowering more young people from marginalised sections of society to acquire a seat on the table, the Open Apprenticeship is a beacon of innovative inclusion.”