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Brixton Finishing School to tackle diversity

CHALLENGE: Brixton Finishing School

BLACK, ASIAN and minority ethnic (BAME) talent are severely under-represented in Britain’s advertising industry, its own professional body has revealed.

As a result, the Brixton Finishing School is offering people from under-represented backgrounds a free 12-week bootcamp in digital, advertising and advertising and marketing skills.

Brixton Finishing School is a 12-week digital “accelerator” that fills the skills gap between education and work for 18 - 25 year olds from marginalised backgrounds who haven't gone to University, and will deliver “work ready” digital talent to the media industry.

It will equip and pre-qualify trainees for entry roles in media and advertising agencies and the trainees will be selected through a process of outreach into marginalised groups and chosen via a “digital boot camp”, which will give them a chance to mix with figures from the capital’s biggest media and tech firms and give them tips to be ready for the workplace.

Those with most potential will be selected for the Brixton Finishing School. There will be living cost bursaries available so as not to exclude those who have an immediate need to earn money, with funds raised by some of the firms hoping to recruit from the pool of young media savvy talent that will come out of the course.

So many of the big names in media, marketing, digital and advertising have agreed to fund this unique scheme that will give young women and people from diverse and deprived backgrounds a chance to join an industry worth £22 billion a year in the UK.

18 – 25 year olds who don’t have the privilege of a University education will be able to learn from talents at cutting edge companies such as magazine publisher Hearst UK, Time Inc, advertising giants WPP and McCann London.

Founder Ally Owen says she is launching the Brixton Finishing School to redress the urgent lack of diversity in her industry.

“We will be connecting the diverse communities that surround London’s hotbed of media activity to creative and digital roles crying out for different voices. We’re the one industry that sells to everybody so we should represent everybody.

“This is our industry responding to a lack of diversity in the media and marketing industries and The Institute of Practitioners of Advertising recognise that there is a massive lack of diversity in their industry.

The Government is currently working on a response to last year’s independent review by Baroness McGregor-Smith that looked into the career progression of black and ethnic minority Brits.

The review found that if black and ethnic minority talent is fully utilized, the UK economy could receive a £24 billion boost.

Owen added: “we believe that talent is distributed equally amongst the youth of London but opportunities are not. The SCA 2.0 and Brixton Finishing School's partnership will create and widen runways into our industry to support our ambition for all talent whatever their background to have the seat they've earned at the table.

“For our GDP to thrive post Brexit we need to focus on building a meritocracy that ensures the best people are in the right jobs.”

The deadline for registering at is May 25.

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