Publicis Groupe UK has launched a scheme offering young people from marginalised communities paid internships and job opportunities in data and commerce roles.
The six-month paid internship is designed to give school leavers, who come from ethnic minority and low social mobility backgrounds, a route into design and engineering jobs that previously required a degree. These roles might be in data science, data engineering, commerce, analytics or software.
Publicis Groupe UK has partnered Open to create and deliver the programme. Open is a joint venture between Livity and Hidden, which is designed to replace traditional graduate schemes.
Ten interns will complete two weeks of intitial training with Open followed by the six-month placement programme at Publicis Groupe UK, which comprises workshops and training.
There will be six training modules covering online marketplace, digital grocery, marketing insights and trends, machine learning including modelling, convergent modelling and automation.
The aim is for the young people to gain the skills needed to get an entry-level job and Publicis Groupe UK said they will have the opportunity to secure a role as an apprentice or a junior account executive at the company.
In addition, Open will provide pastoral care and help ensure the interns get the necessary support, in conjunction with the talent team at Publicis Groupe UK.
Senior leaders with data and commerce expertise will lead workshops and mentor the interns during the programme.
Publicis Groupe UK has committed to running the scheme every year until at least 2030, taking on a cohort of young people every February.
Ben Silcox, chief data and product officer for Publicis Groupe UK, said: "We've designed this programme to help us find the innovators of the future.
"With the help of the experts at Open and their selection process, we're able to recruit young people based on personality and potential, not academic achievement."
He continued: "'The Innovators' scheme is a sustainable way for us to bring more people from diverse backgrounds into our business, removing some of the traditional barriers to entry and creating the conditions for them to thrive.
"We believe that by attracting talented people from a range of backgrounds with different perspectives, we can offer more to our clients."
Kate Johnson, Open programme lead at Hidden, said: "The creative industries, and especially data and engineering roles, are normally closed to people who don't have a degree.
"This programme will allow us to make substantial change where there has historically been a real lack of representation in agencies and creative businesses."
In May 2021, Publicis Groupe UK outlined its equity, diversity and inclusion strategy with the aim to build a "consciously inclusive culture" that actively welcomes and values difference, and where diversity and inclusion is a business objective as well as a moral imperative.
This strategy built on the Embrace Change programme, introduced by Publicis Groupe UK in July 2020 to promote diversity across its business and the industry.