Marketing industry rallies to tackle youth unemployment

The marketing services industry is creating and bolstering schemes to get young people without a university education into the profession as the government turns to the private sector to help arrest rising levels of youth unemployment.

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Figures from the Office of National Statistics put youth unemployment at the 1 million mark last week with more 16 to 24-year-olds are out of work than at any time since 1992.

The Marketing Academy is launching a pilot apprenticeship scheme, dubbed Merlin’s Apprentice, in January to encourage people between 19 and 24-years-old into the industry.

Apprentices, sourced from The Prince’s Trust, will be “hosted” at an SME or charity for work experience and receive mentoring and sponsorship from blue chip organisations. The salaried positions will gain participants a CIM qualification and potentially a full-time marketing role at the brand that sponsored them.

Sherilyn Shackell, founder of the Marketing Academy, says that now marketing is focused on engagement and directly connecting with the consumer, it is vital the industry welcomes younger people with “different life experiences”.

“I think there’s a big pool of potential talent that’s being overlooked. A young person’s route into the marketing industry is so fragmented; it’s an industry people only tend to get into if they’re well connected or well educated,” she adds.

Meanwhile, mentors from search giant Google will commit more time to an apprenticeship programme run by youth communications agency Livity to help young people without graduate qualifications into the industry.

The scheme, part-funded by the government and approved by marketing skills council CfA, has already seen candidates land full-time digital jobs at brands including Barclays, The Guardian, Unilever, Asos and Talk Talk in its debut year.

Elsewhere, O2 is to back its Think Big programme – which offers young people between the age of 13 and 25 the chance to receive funding, training and support to develop ideas or initiatives that can improve their communities – with a major marketing campaign including a short cinema film documenting some of the projects.

The Government is currently mooting various ideas to help young people into employment, including a tax credit to businesses that employ young people and other cash incentives to take on apprentices.

A Cabinet Office spokesman says: “It’s great to see the marketing industry playing its part in helping young people get a first foot on the ladder”.

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