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A Hands-On Way to Nurture Talent
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Advertising around the world has grown tremendously. As the U.S. was once setting the standard when it came to how to improve the advertising industry, we are now seeing different regions and professionals around the world adding their own flavor to the industry we know and love. Which is good, because sometimes a different group can see a problem, and think of a solution from a different perspective.

Take the case of talent.

Our advertising cousins across the pond participated in an event last week called National Apprenticeship Week where businesses and organizations commit to apprentices for a certain period of time. Now apprenticeships, like internships, are not new. But the commitment from the advertising and media world in the UK is something the country has yet to see. Obviously, until now. Several agencies and media companies used National Apprenticeship Week to get the attention of young professionals and have them join the ranks.

Ridley of Campaign Live covered OMD UK, a media agency and the first media agency sponsor of the School of Communications Art. The writer described how OMD went all in with the apprenticeship, giving students access to work on live briefs, as well as work on internal activities like creating an agency-wide initiative. Other big name agencies joined in, like AMV BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi.

At MediaCom, the CEO swapped places with her apprentices for a day. Yes, the chief executive went on client meetings and conducted competitor research while the apprentices met with managing partners and were briefed for her daily tasks by her assistant.

Will we see such commitment and good humor in the U.S. when it comes to attracting young talent? It's hard to say. We think that the industry is finally beginning to take itself and the "role of work" less seriously, allowing for more fun to enter into the world of talent recruitment. We remember the video of an agency letting ten-year olds run their agency, but even then — it was Canada. We can't really claim it.

Either way, it was cool to see big agencies take real interest in gathering and recruiting young talent, and investing in the future of the industry. Let's hope the case study is labeled a good one, and the model comes around.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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