From education to employment

Innovative training initiative to bridge the skills and diversity gap returns for fifth year after reaching 11,000 students so far

@DentsuUK partners with @CoOpUK for training initiative to bridge diversity gap in creative industries 

Dentsu UK’s flagship schools programme, The Code, will celebrate its fifth year by partnering with convenience retailer Co-op for the return of the Rise Up Creative Challenge.  

The challenge, in collaboration with leading overlooked talent specialist MyKindaFuture, is open to young people aged 15 to 18, and supports dentsu in its aim to reach more than 15,000 young people in the UK by the end of 2021. So far, it has reached more than 11,000 through The Code programme.  

It will run for three months from 17 March and supports The Code’s aim to open the doors of the creative industries to students from under-represented backgrounds and communities. For example, last year’s edition saw 61% of participants identify as female and 52% from BAME backgrounds. To facilitate this, dentsu will continue to work with 13 partner schools from across the UK in areas with low social mobility, and higher than average BAME representation and students on free school meals.   

The Rise Up Creative Challenge supports young people’s development across the UK by asking them to come up with a creative digital advertising campaign that helps tackle a real client brief.  This year’s edition will see students work on three areas of focus for the Co-op: Community, Healthy Living and A Better World.  

Co-creating solutions to the world’s biggest challenges is a consistent theme for The Code and in the lead-up to COP26, the Rise Up Creative Challenge gives a platform to the next generation of leaders and activists to share their ideas on how to build back better and confront the climate crisis. 

Students will have access to The Code’s digital curriculum, which was developed last year using the knowledge of dentsu experts in digital, media and creative. The online curriculum was launched to help address the lack of support for young people’s development during the global pandemic. It includes access to mentors from dentsu and Co-op, and on-demand video courses around topics such as the importance of data and audience insights in marketing.  

Entrants will present their campaigns to a team of judges that includes: dentsu UK’s CEO of Creative James Morris, Co-op Customer Director Ali Jones, and Adweek’s UK Bureau Chief Stephen Lepitak. The winner will see their idea brought to life and – along with three highly commended entries – will receive work experience and a host of prizes from Co-op and dentsu.  

James Morris, CEO – Creative and Chair of DEI Council, dentsu UK & Ireland said:

“The effect of the pandemic has been felt at every level of society, especially in education. Businesses must step up and help bridge the ever-widening skills and attainment gap for disadvantaged students. Co-op leads the way in supporting community actions. Together, we can take this further, providing the essential training and access needed to provide a pathway to a future career in the creative industries.”

Ali Jones, Customer Director, Co-op said:

“We’re proud to partner with an agency business like dentsu, which has a clear, active Social Impact strategy designed to tackle the issues facing our society. That lies at the heart of what we do and supporting young people through the pandemic has been a key focus for us. We’re delighted to be partnering with The Code programme to give students across the country an opportunity to come up with tangible ways to support their communities while at the same time opening up greater opportunities for their own futures.” 

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