RAPP UK is launching The READY Initiative to provide agency internships — or what the UK calls apprenticeships — for young and homeless creative aspirants.
"We are always looking for the best young creatives, but were aware of the huge pool of untapped talent out there who will be so often overlooked due to their circumstances and often through no fault of their own," says the project's driving force Sid Gordon, creative director, RAPP UK.
He saw an opportunity where the industry could get involved with the right support and advice to make a difference to some individuals. “We actively seek out those who bring fresh ideas and new perspectives. Yet, people from difficult backgrounds don’t get the same opportunities as others to work in our industry, which means we’re missing a big trick."
The agency first met with government legislation advisors and Cardiff University professors specializing in youth homelessness. Nonprofit Centrepoint was identified as the right partner to ensure the agency could recruit employment-ready people, says Gordon. "Many of these apprenticeship courses require academic qualifications, but this would prove a barrier to many young people who have experienced homelessness," he says. '
Currently, there are more than 100,000 homeless 16- to-24-year-olds in the UK.
Centrepoint serves as the funnel to vet potential candidates. After recruitment, RAPP UK has them complete a brief to test their creative potential. The candidates spend three weeks working across different parts of the creative department and present what they have learned at the end.
Ultimately, one will be enrolled in the Creative Pioneers Junior Content Producer course as part of the U.K.-based campaign to find the next generation of advertising, creative and digital media talent.
Many companies and industries are signed on to the initiative that invites aspiring young workers to experience life in their workforce.
This 15-month salaried program is not "lesser" than the agency's more traditional career paths. All participants work on live briefs, receive the ongoing support of a specialized mentor network, and collect the same benefits as other full-time employees.
RAPP UK, Centrepoint and Creative Pioneers believe The READY Initiative should be an open platform and is inviting anyone interested in learning more about how they can replicate it in their own company to contact Emma Kabayashi here.