The advertising industry launches a new schools’ outreach programme

ADventure, a schools’ outreach programme spearheaded by Brixton Finishing School (BFS) and its network of leading industry partners, will be rolled out across state schools nationwide from November to diversify the talent pipeline at a crucial stage when young people consider their career choices.

With the goal of reaching 100k schoolchildren aged between 14 and 18 from under-represented backgrounds in its pilot year, the initiative will see Brixton Finishing School alumni, members of the Common People network, and industry supporters return to their schools to deliver an assembly highlighting the various roles within the industry, from copywriters and creators to digital media executives and programmatic executives, many of which do not need a degree to succeed in.

Conceived by BFS non-executive director and writer-in-residence Yasmin Arrigo, the project is based on insights given from BFS graduates over the past few years.

Yasmin said: “Each year, our students tell us that they wished they’d known about the industry when they were at school. We want to kickstart that awareness early, at a point when young people first start to consider their career choices, and to highlight how multi-faceted this dynamic industry is.

“Whether you’re the class chatterbox always being told to be quiet, or a secret mathlete, whatever you’re into, wherever your passions lie, there’s a job for you.”

From November, supporters of the project will be invited to return to their school or will be partnered with a school with a diverse demographic and armed with a presentation highlighting the different roles young people can do. Interested students wanting to learn more will be invited to join the ‘ADventurers’ community, which will feature bitesize learning and career development tips.

Founder of Brixton Finishing School Ally Owen said: “It can feel easier to locate and enter Hogwarts than the ad industry – the route in can be as mythical as Platform 9 ¾, which only reveals itself to the chosen few a couple of times a year.

“ADventure works to resolve this, creating much needed awareness, a clear pathway to success and a community of fellow ‘ADventurers’ who will enjoy enriching encounters and content from our partners so when they are of an age to enter The AD-Cademy or Brixton Finishing School they know it’s a place built for them, to help them win a role.

“Rewiring our future talent pipeline is an urgent (and long term) project. ADventure is the first step on this new pathway and is designed to support dismantling inequitable legacy routes in. By building out a ‘family’ of programs designed to deliver access based on merit, Brixton Finishing School aims to rewrite the talent blueprint for the industry so it’s representative of the consumers it serves.”

Jennie Dean, outreach director at Brixton Finishing School said: “The advertising industry has traditionally struggled to look beyond London and the M25 for talent, despite the UK being a hotbed for the greatest creative minds and growth in the industry coming from so many other cities.

“At Brixton Finishing School, we recognise that there are geographical barriers to opportunity that exist alongside race, gender and socio-economic status, which is why it is our mission to reach talent across the country at scale and bring the advertising industry to them.

“Whether you’re from Liverpool, Burnley, Manchester or Glasgow, the ADventure programme will give young people the opportunity to hear from industry people who may have gone to their school or grown up in their town or city, and now work there too. Furthermore, we offer the AD-Cademy – a free virtual course open to all 18-25 year olds across the UK. It’s a nationwide gateway into the industry that offers industry-designed content, live Q&A’s and career opportunities with our partners. 

“It’s our mission to show that the advertising industry is full of possibility and career potential wherever they are. 

Common People’s founder Jed Hallam said: “The volume of Common People in our industry continues to decline, and this represents a huge challenge as we look to reignite the creativity that once made the UK the creative centre of excellence for the advertising world. A diverse workforce will go a long way to addressing that challenge, and that’s why ADventure is such an incredibly important initiative from Brixton Finishing School.

“We’re asked to think about our careers from an incredibly young age, and if the creative industries don’t feature in those thoughts (either prompted or not), adland runs the risk of losing out on a huge amount of talented Common People.”

To volunteer to join the ADventure project, you can sign up here. Interested schools can sign up here.

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