Dentsu, parent of Carat and Vizeum, operates flagship The Code scheme

The Code is Dentsu’s flagship social impact programme to diversify the creative communications industry

By Dentsu

it aims to provide meaningful opportunities for the next generation of talent to exchange with expert volunteers. The CODE (Creativity, Opportunity, Diversity, and Empowerment) was developed in 2016 with leading diverse talent specialist MyKindaFuture, and launched in January 2017.

The Code was selected in 2019 to scale globally and is now running in 12 countries across EMEA, Americas, and APAC – each with a client partner to bring the world of advertising and marketing to life for young people.

With an ambition to create 100,000 empowered digital citizens and 5,000 work placements for under-represented groups globally by 2030, The Code offers young people in Year 9-Year 13 workshops, masterclasses, mentoring, insight days, and work experience, leading up to Apprenticeships and full-time positions at Dentsu. Since its launch, The Code has supported over 12,000 young people in the UK and 16,600+ globally.

In the UK, Dentsu works with a network of 13 official partner schools in London, Stafford, Manchester, Leeds, and Edinburgh. All partner schools are in areas of low social mobility, have higher than average percentage of students on free school meals, and high representation of students from a BAME background.

The Code is open to any young person, not just partner schools: Dentsu offers open access to The Code’s digital curriculum, which was developed in Spring 2020 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 its clients, and on-demand video courses around topics such as the importance of data and audience insights in marketing.

Through partnering with clients such as Jaguar Land Rover, WWF, Cadbury, and the Co-op, Dentsu asks students to respond to a real-world marketing brief in the Rise Up Creative Challenge. The Challenge runs for three months 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 percent of participants identify as female and 52 percent from BAME backgrounds.

Students respond to purpose-driven briefs, focusing on global challenges such as the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, and mental health.


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