How we're accelerating apprenticeships

Janet Hull, IPA Director of Marketing Strategy and Executive Director of Creative Pioneers, launched Creative Pioneers² at the BBC’s Apprenticeship conference on Monday (6 March), on the first day of National Apprenticeship Week.

In 2016, we celebrated the fifth birthday of Creative Pioneers, an apprenticeship programme the IPA has been running with freesheet Metro newspaper since 2012, which is open to all businesses in the creative and digital media sector of the creative industries.

We were proud to announce that over the five-year period we had placed more than 500 school leavers in over 200 businesses up and down the country, in city centres like London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle; and that over 90% have gone on to full-time employment.

We were keen to stress how apprenticeships were a route to greater diversity, both in attitude, skills and ethnicity, with 25% BAME representation nationally, and 35% in London.

None of this has changed. It’s just got bigger and better.

In the last year alone, 250 more young people found a route into the business through Creative Pioneers.

And this year we aim to double the number again, to 500 plus opportunities.

What makes us so confident that we can get there?

  1. We have access to new qualifications. Our new offer includes training pathways in digital marketing, digital analytics and content production and we can also support apprenticeships in legal, HR and finance.
  2. We have new, bigger employers on board. The government levy on employers with a payroll of over £3m, which comes into effect on 17th April, is providing new impetus for some of our bigger agencies. We are delighted to welcome Dentsu Aegis, BBDO, DDB, Omnicom, McCann and many more onto the programme.
  3. We have a new infrastructure in place to deliver quality service at scale. We have reconfigured our training partnerships across the country under the Creative Pioneers² brand, to provide an integrated national service. We have appointed Arch, part of the Blenheim Chalcott Group, as our technology partner and are building a B2B platform for employers to complement our B2C platform.

What is not changing is our approach to marketing.

Our marketing partnership with freesheet, and third biggest national newspaper, Metro continues. We are grateful for the 4-page wraparound provided by Metro last Friday (10 March 2017) for National Apprenticeship Week.

Our creative strategy remains the same.

We have learnt along the way that our world of work, and our job descriptions, can be very confusing to young people. So our entry point is to ask them to identify their brain type… are they linear, lateral or diagonal (a mix of the two)? Or, in their language, are they a doer, a creative or a planner? And from there we introduce them to the job roles that might fit, and code the job accordingly.

We will also continue to feature our apprentices in our advertising, with a pen portrait of what they do. As ever, the company they work for is not very familiar to a mass audience, but the brands they work on are, so this is where we put our focus. So our new advertising features Lia, a planner-type apprentice, working at Starcom MediaVest on Head & Shoulders and Ariel: Habib, a creative-type apprentice, working at Havas on Warburton and Dyson: and Ellie, a doer-type apprentice, working at the Sunshine company on London Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Earth.

How else are we spreading the word?

We will continue to advertise on social platforms and play our role on the circuit of Speakers for Schools.

But this year we are adding an important, new layer to our outreach.

At the IPA’s centenary event, the Festival for British Advertising, we developed a new Open House approach to schools, colleges and careers officers.

We organised group tours to our exhibition on the past, present and future of advertising for over 30 schools on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th, and it was open to the wider public at the weekend.

And under the leadership of Rick Hirst, Dentsu Aegis group and IPA Professional Development Director, Patrick Mills, we are providing continuity to the programme with an Open House programme in IPA member agencies later in the year.

As part of the Festival of British Advertising, the IPA launched the 2017 Creative Pioneers² national apprenticeship programme – please see our press release here. You can also find out more about Creative Pioneers² by visiting:

Last updated 21 January 2022