Entries now open for Marketing Week’s second annual Talent Trailblazer Award

Marketing Week has teamed up with the Advertising Association for a second year to spotlight organisations that have opened up marketing to diverse talent.

Marketing Week has partnered with the Advertising Association to launch the second annual Talent Trailblazer Award, which celebrates the organisations and individuals opening the industry up to new talent.

The free-to-enter award will spotlight companies whose initiatives and projects have helped attract talent to the industry, opening doors for those who might not have considered it an option. Entries are open until 19 July.

Examples might include, but are not limited to, apprenticeship schemes, school outreach programmes, partnership initiatives and social enterprise schemes.

Last year’s winner was VCCP’s Stoke Academy. The Stoke Academy is designed to inspire, identify and unlock creative talent in Stoke, enabling young people to pursue successful careers in marketing and advertising without the need to relocate to London. The academy’s mission is to make the industry accessible and socially diverse through work-experience opportunities, skills training and career guidance.

Highly commended for the award last year was the Brixton Finishing School’s family of change-making programmes, intended to break down the barriers for underrepresented groups looking to kickstart a career in the creative industries.

Three other companies were shortlisted for the prize, including Havas Platform, London Metropolitan University’s marketing and communications team, and Shape Your Future from RockCorps/Apprentice Nation.

Winner of the inaugural Talent Trailblazer Award revealed

This year’s judges are:

  • Sarah Skinner, CEO, Grace Blue
  • Ewen McPherson, group chief people officer, Havas
  • Richie Booker, head of diversity and belonging, Hearst
  • Sharon Lloyd Barnes, commercial director and inclusion lead, Advertising Association
  • Ash Schofield, CEO, GiffGaff

Marketing Week has been calling on the industry to act on democratising marketing careers, opening them up to more people, from more diverse backgrounds in its long-running Opening Up series.

The Advertising Association launched its Talent Plan in January 2023 highlighting the industry’s need to attract new talent, maximise the opportunities presented by the apprenticeship scheme, and address how it retains and develops talent to truly compete with other industries.

Russell Parsons, Marketing Week’s Editor in Chief, says: “As the AA found, and we have reported over many years, there is both an imperative to open up the industry to new recruits, as well a strong business case for attracting talent that might not ordinarily consider marketing as a career. By championing those that are leading the way with this award we hope to set an example to others.”

“We’re delighted to see the return of the Talent Trailblazer Award to highlight the stand-out examples of how the industry is successfully widening its recruitment pool, and how companies are spearheading their own initiatives to develop and retain new advertising and marketing talent,” says Sharon Lloyd Barnes, commercial director and inclusion lead at the Advertising Association.

“Our inaugural awards saw a fantastic range of entries and we can’t wait to uncover more work which inspires other organisations to build a more inclusive industry.”

Any business operating in the UK’s advertising, media, marketing services and marketing industry can enter the award. This includes marketing departments in brands, commercial media owners, agencies of all kinds and martech companies.

The winner will be unveiled at the Marketing Week Awards ceremony on 7 November.

Entries are open until 19 July. For more information click here.