Publicis Groupe UK Introduces 'The Innovators'

New programme to attract talent from under-represented groups into data roles in the advertising industry

By Creative Salon

A brand new scheme launches today offering young people from marginalised communities paid internships and job opportunities in data and commerce roles at Publicis Groupe UK.

The innovative six-month paid internship is designed to give school leavers a route into design and engineering jobs that previously required a degree. These roles might be in data science, data engineering, commerce, analytics or software.

Publicis Groupe UK has committed to running the scheme every year until at least 2030 and has partnered with OPEN_ to create and deliver the unique programme for young people who come from ethnic minority and low social mobility backgrounds. OPEN_is a joint venture between Livity and Hidden, designed to replace traditional graduate schemes. 

Every February, a cohort of 10 interns will complete two weeks of onboarding training with OPEN_ followed by workshops and training during a six-month placement programme at Publicis Groupe UK. ‘The Innovators’ will complete six training modules covering online marketplace, digital grocery, marketing insights and trends, machine learning including modelling, convergent modelling and automation. The young people will emerge with the skills needed to get an entry level job in these areas and the opportunity to secure a role as an apprentice or a junior account executive at Publicis Groupe UK, depending on aptitude and appetite.

OPEN_ will provide pastoral care and help ensure the interns get the support they need to thrive, in conjunction with the talent team at Publicis Groupe UK. Senior leaders with data and commerce expertise will lead workshops and mentor the interns during the programme.

Ben Silcox, chief data and product pfficer for Publicis Groupe UK, said: “We’ve designed this programme to help us find ‘The Innovators’ of the future. With the help of the experts at OPEN_ and their selection process, we’re able to recruit young people based on personality and potential, not academic achievement. ‘The Innovators’ scheme is a sustainable way for us to bring more people from diverse backgrounds into our business, removing some of the traditional barriers to entry, and creating the conditions for them to thrive. We believe that by attracting talented people from a range of backgrounds with different perspectives, the more we can offer our clients.”

Kate Johnson, open programme lead at Hidden, said: “By scrapping all entry requirements and opening the programme up to young people from minority communities, Publicis Groupe UK is doing something truly unique. The creative industries, and especially data and engineering roles, are normally closed to people who don’t have a degree. This programme will allow us to make substantial change where there has historically been a real lack of representation in agencies and creative businesses. We are helping Publicis Groupe UK not only to access this outstanding next gen talent, but also to include and retain these talented individuals in the future.”

In May 2021, Publicis Groupe UK outlined its equity, diversity and inclusion strategy to build a consciously inclusive culture that actively welcomes and values difference, and where diversity and inclusion is a business objective as well as a moral imperative.

The strategy set out four focus areas for 2021, all viewed through an intersectional lens:

  • Gender

  • Race equity and becoming an actively anti-racist organisation

  • Disability inclusion

  • LGBTQ inclusion

This strategy built on the Embrace Change programme, introduced by Publicis Groupe UK in July 2020 to promote diversity across its business and the industry.


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