Ogilvy UK’s apprenticeship Pipe-line

How are Ogilvy UK attracting and developing exciting young talent?

How are Ogilvy UK attracting and developing exciting young talent? Head of People, Gemma Davies explores their apprenticeship The Pipe, and why they've recently become the first agency to put people through the new Junior Advertising Creative apprenticeship scheme.

Since its launch, Ogilvy UK’s acclaimed apprenticeship scheme, The Pipe has taken on 50 apprentices across its wide range of departments and functions, with over half from minority ethnic backgrounds. Recently, they became the first agency in the UK to put a select group of young creative talent through the new Junior Advertising Creative apprenticeship scheme, in partnership with the Bauer Academy and IPA.

What is the Pipe?

The Pipe, named after David Ogilvy’s ubiquitous smoking pipe, began in 2016 and aims to provide openly accessible routes to employment in the creative industries, while championing all forms of creativity and diversity. The scheme has been hugely successful and is now entering its seventh year, it is open to all applicants regardless of background or qualifications. Successful Pipers are paid the London Living Wage throughout their two-year training and there is no degree or experience required.

The Pipe is a two-year long programme that combines hands-on experience with study time. The chosen apprentices will receive offsite training – delivered in partnership with government accredited training providers – as well as tutoring, workshops and 1:1 coaching. Apprentices will be working closely with different teams on client briefs, while also working towards a Level 3 or Level 4 qualification - equivalent to two A-Levels.

What are people saying about it?

Lauren Mollyneaux-Brown, Learning & Development Partner, Ogilvy UK:

Ensuring talent is nurtured across multiple disciplines at all levels is fundamental to further Ogilvy UK’s dedication to creativity and development. That’s why the Pipe is so important, and why I’m so delighted we’re able to offer so many of them full-time jobs after they graduate.

John Dinneen, Recent Graduate of The Pipe Programme:

The Pipe gave us a chance, a unique and non-traditional opportunity to enter into the creative department of the advertising industry at one of the biggest and most-renowned agencies. Over the past 18 months, we’ve learnt a lot at Ogilvy UK, through the guidance of great mentors as well as trial and error on some of the biggest briefs. To be given the space to fail, the time to learn and the encouragement to try again, has been fantastic and formative.

We’ve come to learn that the Pipe is an experiment, and that at its core is the genuine belief that creativity can and should come from anywhere and everywhere.

Some of my biggest highlights have been the briefs we’ve been asked to work on and the creative teams that have worked with us. Watching Nic Wood and Andy Forest’s process for cracking the Mayor of London brief and creating the campaign ‘Have a word with yourself, then your mates’, will stick with me for the rest of my career, and life!

The past 18 months has been a huge challenge. I hope I’ve grown a lot creatively; I’ve found a brilliant creative partner and I’m excited about a career as an advertising creative.

Mabinty Taylor-Kamara, Recent Graduate of The Pipe Programme:

In the last 18 months, I’ve learnt a great deal about the advertising world. I’ve understood how we answer brand briefs and create impactful work. I’ve been an active part of internal events from Learning Days to Quench and Nudgestock. One of my biggest highlights would be working on the Strength Content during Black History Month that went on Ogilvy UK’s Instagram page and helping to organise the events in that week such as the Party and Paint and Open Mic Night. I’ve enjoyed a lot, learnt even more and I’m looking forward to using the skills I’ve picked up as I progress.

Find out more about The Pipe


Gemma Davies is Head of People at Ogilvy UK.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and were submitted in accordance with the IPA terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

What can you do to get involved in apprenticeships?

The IPA has been involved in creating two Level 3 apprenticeship schemes, Advertising & Media Executive and Junior Advertising Creative, with the Institute for Apprenticeships, and provides a wealth of information to help agencies reach and recruit underrepresented groups and drive greater diversity in our industry.

Last updated 01 May 2024