75 agencies invite 2000 students in for nationwide careers programme

Showcasing our industry to the next generation of talent through Advertising Unlocked

Seventy-five IPA agencies are opening their doors to 2000 students from an array of state schools up and down the country, as part of the IPA-led careers programme, Advertising Unlocked, taking place throughout November.

Advertising Unlocked, founded in 2017, aims to introduce new, potentially unconsidered career options to school children, and to provide agencies with an audience of fresh, diverse talent. Since inception over 5,000 students have taken part, with feedback from previous years demonstrating the tangible benefits for both children and agencies.

Each agency has been matched with a registered school based on location and requirements, with the children ranging in age from 13-18-years old. This year, 60% are located in London and 40% around the United Kingdom, including Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Brighton and Manchester.

On their open day, agencies typically run a range of practical experiences, from workshops, interactive discussions, demonstrations, tours, and creative challenges.

Says IPA President Julian Douglas, who founded Advertising Unlocked in 2017:

"I am a firm believer in the power of collaboration. We can achieve much more working together than alone. In fact, if we want to make a meaningful difference on things that really matter, we cannot act alone. This is why Advertising Unlocked is such an important cross-industry collaboration. 

By teaming up agencies with state schools right across the UK our industry is able to showcase the depth and breadth of opportunities a career in advertising has to offer to school children who may not know otherwise be aware that such careers exist.

Julian Douglas, IPA President

"Equally, our industry is facing a recruitment crisis. And our dial on recruiting a diverse employee base is in great need of a ramp up. Through Advertising Unlocked we are able to create meaningful relationships and stronger pathways to facilitate a more diverse future workforce for mutual benefit."

Speaking about their involvement in Advertising Unlocked, MediaCom’s Avelon Thompson, DEI Business Partner says:

"MediaCom regularly host insights days and have been a part of Advertising Unlocked since its beginning. Advertising unlocked allows us to open the doors to a wide range of people who are interested in finding out a bit more about a career in a media agency. It allows them to get a sense of whether they can see themselves reflected and imagine working in the industry. We recruit a high number of people through these days and diversity of thought and experience is at the heart of the day."

We want our talent to know and feel that they have equitable opportunities and to understand that they can flourish and progress to senior levels. Inclusion and belonging is so important to the well-being of our people, we make sure we put it at the heart of the agency.

Avelon Thompson, DEI Business Partner, MediaCom

Also commenting, Amy Bulsara, Marketing Manager, Cogent says:

“We’re delighted that Advertising Unlocked is back again for 2022. In 2019, we welcomed twenty 15-year-old students from a local Warwickshire school to attend our agency for the day. We were able to give the students a flavour of the Marketing industry and what a typical day at Cogent looks like.

“We got first-hand insight into how young students view the industry, which was extremely insightful. Some of the students were surprised to learn that marketing isn’t just television ads and billboards and they really benefited from being told about other roles that agencies undertake day to day. We felt it was important to emphasise the fact that marketing isn’t just for designers and artists but that the industry requires a range of skills including arts, humanities, science, technology, engineering and maths."

The IPA Advertising Unlocked programme is a fantastic initiative for our agency and for the industry as a whole. It’s great to be a part of something that encourages the next generation of marketeers to explore more about a career in our industry.

Amy Bulsara, Marketing Manager, Cogent

"The past few years have presented the industry with recruitment challenges, which is why it is more important than ever to nurture new and diverse talent and we’re thrilled to be involved again for 2022.”

Find out more about Advertising Unlocked


Watch highlights from Advertising Unlocked 2022:

Advertising Unlocked 2022 from The IPA on Vimeo.


Participating agencies in 2022 include:

  • 23red
  • Adam & Eve DDB
  • Anomaly
  • Anything is Possible
  • April Six Mobility
  • ASG & Partners
  • Bicycle
  • Bray Leino
  • Bray Leino Events
  • Brood
  • Cogent
  • Creature London
  • december19
  • Dentsu London
  • Dentsu Manchester
  • Different Narrative
  • Drum
  • Drummond Central
  • ELVIS Communications
  • Factor3
  • Golley Slater
  • Goodstuff
  • Gottabe!
  • Gravity Global
  • Grey London
  • Guy & Co
  • Hearts & Science
  • Hunterlodge Advertising
  • Imagination
  • Impero
  • John Ayling & Associates
  • Kinetic
  • Leith
  • Leo Burnett
  • M&C Saatchi
  • McCann Birmingham
  • McCann London
  • McCann Manchester
  • MediaCom London
  • Medialab
  • MG OMD
  • Mother London
  • Mullenlowe London
  • OMD UK
  • One Brand Magic
  • PHD UK
  • PsLondon
  • Red Brick Road
  • Republic of Media Edinburgh
  • Republic of Media Manchester
  • RKH
  • Saatchi & Saatchi
  • Southpaw
  • St Luke's
  • Talon Outdoor
  • The Beyond Collective
  • The Gate London
  • The Grove Media
  • The Lane Agency
  • The Media Shop, Front Page and Channel 4
  • The&Partnership
  • The7Stars
  • Total Media
  • Total Media Connect
  • TRUE
  • UM London
  • VCCP
  • VMLY&R
  • Walker Agency
  • Wavemaker
  • Wavemaker North
  • What's Possible Group
Last updated 01 May 2024