How partnering with a local school led to more diverse talent at Spark Foundry

Business Area
Culture, Education, Employment, External campaign, Hiring
Aspect of IDE
Class, Gender, Race & ethnicity, Socio-economic status
Scale
Longer term

Overview

We wanted to open up opportunities for students who had not previously seen careers in Media as a possible option. In order to do this, we partnered with a school local to the Spark Foundry offices in Hammersmith and Fulham to fill apprenticeship roles and provide invaluable experience for those considering their career options.

What did you set out to achieve?

At Spark Foundry, we wanted to engage with schools local to our office in order to increase the access and awareness of a media career to a wider audience. In doing so we hoped to open up opportunities for individuals who had not previously seen media as a possible career option. Being based in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, we anticipated an increased interest in individuals from a diverse background - both in terms of ethnicity as well as socio-economic background – and we ultimately aimed to cultivate that interest into experience and employment. 

 

Describe how the campaign works

The Collective, our internal D&I group, engaged with the local borough to seek their assistance with engaging students and schools with the intention of providing valuable insight into the media industry. Given the borough council worked directly with schools in the region, they worked closely with us to find a relevant school aligned to the values and goals we had set out. Further conversations were held with representatives from the school and council to establish mutual goals and actionable measures of success.  
 
The ongoing activities have thus far included virtual introductory sessions to us as an organisation and the advertising industry in general. As the plan progresses, we will move forward with in-person sessions, including having the students experience the workplace as well as responding to briefs and opportunities for pitch work.

 

Can you tell us about the practical steps you took to set it up?

Externally, our initial contacts were at the local council. After explaining our goals and demonstrating our reasoning behind engaging in the initiative, we were then introduced to a local school. Internally our stakeholders included our talent leads as well as members of our C-Suite, including our CEO. This helped to demonstrate our commitment to the partnership and reassured our partners. We are currently relying on internal volunteers - who are passionate about contributing to the D&I and cultural principles within the organisation - to contribute and bring this initiative to life. As the resource utilised has predominantly been internal volunteers, progress has often relied upon individuals setting aside time to build out proposals and meet with the external stakeholders.  

What positive impact has this campaign had? 

As an organisation, we felt the best way to demonstrate our commitment to the initiative was to allocate a minimum of 50% of our apprenticeship vacancies to those who are part of the school's partnership initiative. 

So far, the news of the launch and the initial engagement numbers have had a hugely warming influence on our workforce, who have embraced the opportunity to work alongside our local educational institutions. 

The collective logo

What did you learn that could help others? 

Having senior level buy-in from an early stage was incredibly reassuring to demonstrate how important this initiative was. Having multiple internal leads was also helpful in ensuring the initiative could be progressed from multiple angles, rather than relying on fewer individuals. 

 

How will you make the ID&E benefit of this campaign endure?

With a minimum initial commitment contributing to our apprentice roles, we’ll ensure we have a constant stream of diverse talent coming through the agency. The partnership developed between the school, borough and organisation will undoubtedly aid the education and progression required to help entry-level employees see a future for themselves in the organisation and the wider industry as a whole. 

 

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