Digify UK, the unique collaboration between youth marketing agency Livity, the Marketing Agencies Association and Google, has recruited technology companies Facebook and Twitter to provide bespoke training modules for its 2016 cohort of interns.
Through its focus on diversity, the digital marketing internship programme stands apart from other industry internships, having been set up to address the lack of diverse talent in media, marketing and advertising agencies across the UK and to deliver meaningful change in this area.
The news comes at a time when diversity is under the spotlight following a tumultuous couple of months for British politics.
Ed Couchman, Director of Agency Partnerships at Facebook, said: “This programme is another step in the right direction for our industry. Diversity is central to Facebook’s mission of creating a more open and connected world and it’s absolutely vital for us to have a broad range of perspectives within our business. Digital has the potential to unlock so many opportunities for young people and initiatives like this help to ensure they are open to everyone.”
Dara Nasr, managing director at Twitter UK, said: “Valuing and working towards greater diversity is a key message that all companies ought to be sending out. It’s something we at Twitter UK are absolutely committed to and we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to get on board with such an important and unique initiative that has an instant impact on young peoples’ lives.”
Facebook and Twitter began teaching last week for this year’s cohort, who started their training in May. Candidates are found through a targeted recruitment strategy to ensure a rich mix of talent, made up of graduates, non-graduates and a wide ethnic mix.
A recent survey found that just 5.4% of the creative sector is made up of individuals from BAME groups.
Scott Knox, managing director of the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA), said: “It’s great that Facebook and Twitter are joining us on this important journey. The agency sector has so much to gain from business and talent diversity.”
Michelle Morgan, co-founder and CEO of Livity and Chair of Youth and Diversity for the MAA, said: “We’re so pleased to have Twitter and Facebook on board. There’s much rhetoric in the sector about the needs and benefits of diversity right now, and about time too. The lack of diversity, in a sector famed for being ahead of the curve, is a constant surprise to me and a growing threat to the sector.”
“As an industry, we need to lead the way and celebrate our commitment to difference, especially given the events of the past few weeks. Digify UK represents opportunities for agencies to walk the talk, take action and be brave enough to admit that the challenge of diversity is one that needs industry-wide collaboration.”
The internship aims to give interns a 360 view of all aspects of digital marketing and agency life, rather than be restricted by traditional academic teachings.
Following their acceptance to the programme, interns spend eight weeks undergoing the training at Livity’s well-known headquarters in Brixton, where they work on live briefs for Livity’s clients which include Google, Channel 4, Unilever and Tesco.
They then spend the following 6 months working at much sought-after placements at one of the programme’s agency partners, which include iris, RPM, Rapp, Haygarth, Engine Group, Digitas LBi, and Jack Morton.
Morgan continued: “Since launching in 2014, Digify has gone beyond our expectations but we are always looking to make the programme bigger and better. Diversity should apply to the range of teaching as well as to the trainees. Any brands who would like to offer training or agencies who would like to offer placements should definitely get in touch.”
Brands interested in offering training are encouraged to contact Livity’s headquarters on +44 (0)207326 5979, while potential agency partners should contact Knox at the MAA on +44 (0) 20 7535 3550.
Digify was founded in South Africa in 2014, as a partnership between Livity Africa and Google, with an astonishing 80 per cent of those completing the programme securing full-time work in the creative sector following their internship.
Livity celebrates its 15th birthday this year, having been founded in 2001, with the aim of being the leaders in youth marketing, as well as a unique social enterprise.