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Boateng and Wight launch initiative to improve agency diversity

Engine group president Robin Wight and designer Ozwald Boateng helped to launch a new funding programme at the IPA last night, which aims to improve the diversity of creatives in agencies.

Robin Wight: at last night's launch at the IPA

Robin Wight: at last night's launch at the IPA

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The Ideas Foundation, the creative children’s charity, has joined forces with the School of Communication Arts, a vocational training college for young people who want to work in advertising, to fund a joint initiative that supports youths.

The programme will aid young people at school, through online creative mentoring and work experience, and develop their skills through a course at the School of Communication Arts.

The event to launch the programme at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising last night was attended by 100 executives from across the industry, including John Hegarty, founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and IPA director general Hamish Pringle.

Rory Sutherland, the outgoing IPA President and vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, said, the programme was "just the sort of initiative our industry needs to take in the era of the Big Society".

Sutherland said: "This initiative provides the creative communications industries with a bespoke training and recruitment pathway with students taking their first step at 14 and into the industry fully prepared by 21."

The SCA already has 300 mentors teaching students and Ideas Foundation currently organises online and face-to-face mentoring and this new initiative aims to build on this with existing and new agency supporters.

Marc Lewis, founder of the School of Communication Arts, said: "Our ultimate goal, for this part of the programme is to get a greater diversity of creatives into agencies. But we also want to be able to give a direct benefit to agencies now from the young people who are already in the first year at the School of Communication Arts."

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