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Brixton Finishing School launches free virtual course The ‘AD-Cademy’

Brixton Finishing School

Brixton Finishing School (@BrixtonFSchool) launches the AD-Cademy, a free nationwide virtual course to upskill underserved young people, in response to COVID-19 

AD-Cademy will equip young people across the country with knowledge and employability to enter the advertising industries 

Brixton Finishing School, the award-winning employment inclusion project, announces the creation of The AD-Cademy, a free, 8-week virtual course for 18-25 year-olds across the UK. The programme will equip participants with knowledge and employability to enter the advertising, marketing and digital industries. The course will open nationwide in February 2021.

The AD-Cademy’s aim is to ensure the progression of multicultural and working class talent into the creative and technology industries and Brixton Finishing School hopes that the programme’s national reach will address talent from cities in the north, such as Manchester and Liverpool, being overlooked.

The Curriculum and course strategy were designed by Lachlan Williams, Ex Head of Strategy @ R/GA LDN and previously Lecturer and Tutor in Communications and Advertising at the University of Technology Sydney. It will be full of industry masterclasses and professional skills workshops. The course has been designed to upskill participants in key aspects of marketing, creativity, and digital, help build their networks and increase the chance of them securing a role through employability workshops including personal branding, accountability, interview tips, and CV writing.

The AD-Cademy has signed sponsors including KFC, and will feature presentations and workshops from agencies, media and technology partners such as R/GA, M&C Saatchi, RAPP, Raconteur, Mail Metro Media, Clear Channel, Kinetic, Wolff Olins, Blis, AD YOU LIKE, Anomaly, Amplify, Oglivy, 21st Century Brand, Oliver, Westmill and Adam & Eve. The programme has launched as a pilot this year, with 500  young people signed up to take part.

Mother Design was tasked with creating a brand identity for this course, which both lives within the BFS brand world using the green and purple colours, but has its own assets and is iconic enough to stand out alongside it. They created a brand which celebrates the vast variety of career directions the students will have revealed to them throughout the course. The brand celebrates digital visual vernaculars, such as swiping and scrolling, as well as the use of the return key in the logo – embodying the world the course lives within, in a youthful and current way. Other visual elements continue to play on the ethos of helping give people direction, including a variety of arrows executed in different styles.

Launched in 2018, the Brixton Finishing School is the brainchild of Ally Owen, former exec at Unruly, MailOnline and Yahoo. Ally saw the urgent need to diversify talent in advertising and encourage untapped talent from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds – whether multicultural, neuro-diverse, or female – into the industry through training and work experience.

Ally Owen, Founder of Brixton Finishing School said:

“Launching The AD-Cademy is a game-changing moment for the rebalancing of the future talent pipeline at scale. Whether you’re in Huddersfield or Bolton, you will have access to teachings from some of the stars of the creative and media industries. The AD-Cademy will be an amazing self-serve learning platform of lectures and learnings, as well as a series of showcases and events that will enrich young people’s understanding of the advertising industry.

Owen concluded: “The reality of Covid-19 is, it has and will continue to have, a dramatic impact on the futures of young people across the UK. Internships and work experience opportunities have been put on hold across the country and entry-level roles have all but vanished. Brixton Finishing School’s mission has always been to break down barriers and give young people from working class, multicultural and neurodiverse backgrounds a fairer chance to succeed. It’s also important to challenge companies to see the huge value a diverse and inclusive workforce brings.”

Kate Wall, Head of Advertising, Retail & Home Delivery, KFC, said:

“We couldn’t be happier to be partnering with Brixton Finishing School and the AD-Cademy to support their incredible learning programme as well as launching our new KFC Marketing Internship. The new internship will provide hands-on marketing experience to help young talents from underrepresented groups or minorities, passionate about building iconic brands like KFC, kickstart their career. We’ve found the perfect partner with Brixton Finishing School, who are masters in putting diverse talent into this industry and making marketing roles more accessible. We are excited about the potential of getting to better creative work through new perspectives and fresh ideas. We’d love it if more brands could jump on board to support BFS and offer paid internships to help drive more diversity into the marketing industry at entry level. ”


Christopher Kenna, CEO & Founder, Brand Advance, said:

“Every financial quarter we are proud to donate cash to help fund the Brixton Finishing School, as well as supply free inventory to help spread awareness across our network. This is a cause that is very close to my heart, as BFS helps people who were once in the same position as me. As someone who came from a disadvantaged background, who did not have graduating high school and attending university on the horizon as a teen, I would have loved to have been given the guidance and encouragement that the BFS provides. If we are to make a difference in representation advertising and the world beyond, funding projects like this is crucial. We want to give more people that look like me, that think like me, the opportunity to succeed and make an impact on the world for good.”

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