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Publicis Groupe UK is pledging to help young people from marginalised communities find jobs in the advertising industry with its Open Apprenticeship programme.

The interactive platform, currently in testing, acts as a starting point for anyone keen to learn the fundamentals of the industry, including the types of role on offer and the career opportunities available.

Up to 10,000 people from ethnic-minority and low social mobility backgrounds will be provided with training, mentorships and job opportunities in the first year.

What’s the deal?

  • Today's launch sees Publicis play its part in addressing an alarming decline in job prospects for young people wrought by the pandemic with ethnic minorities, the disabled and people from low-income backgrounds being disproportionately affected.

  • Publicis will initially prioritise its outreach programme toward young people from ethnic minority and low-income backgrounds before broadening the net from 2022 to encompass other disadvantaged groups such as the disabled.

  • Potential candidates will be approached in partnership with career advisers, schools, colleges and community groups including Brixton Finishing School, Apprentice Nation and the School of Marketing.

  • The Open Apprenticeship platform thus provides companies and organisations with a ready-made solution for tapping talent from underrepresented groups.

  • To encourage participation, Publicis has promised to create jobs for people who pass the programme, going so far as to offer discounted rates on accommodation in London for those employed in this way.

Changing the agency landscape for the ‘good of society’ 

  • Annette King, chief exec, Publicis Groupe UK, said: “We work in a white middle-class industry and that has to change for the good of society, and because it’ll make this industry stronger. 

  • "We’ve created a blueprint and we are asking our industry colleagues to join us and help change the face of advertising for the better.”

  • Publicis' call to arms comes as the broader industry scrabbles to diversify with the present crisis seen as a turning point in efforts to break with the established hiring patterns of the past.

  • Sensing the shifting mood music Brixton Finishing School last year rolled out a virtual course offering underrepresented young people across the UK to brush up their skills in preparation for the jobs market reopening.

  • The Drum spoke with the school's founder Ally Owen to find out how a London-based organisation can maintain relevancy outwith he capital by embracing distance learning as a great leveller.

  • Last year the IPA warned that the advertising industry was failing to attract young diverse talent in a scathing report, despite the expressed willingness of 34% of BAME respondents to consider a career in adland should the opportunity present itself.