The Partnership: Creative Pioneers in Growing Talent

The Partnership were one of the original agencies involved in the IPA’s Creative Pioneers programme. This is an innovative industry-led campaign to encourage agencies to diversify their workforce through employing talented school leavers as apprentices. Creative Alliance are delighted to be the delivery partner for this apprentice programme in the Midlands.

June and July are the key months for recruitment. It’s when all those talented school leavers finish their exams and start to think about what they are going to be doing from September. Many will be encouraged by both schools and parents to follow the traditional route of Sixth Form and University. Some will look for something different: something that better suits their way of learning, their level of maturity and their ambition to get in and get on. Tom Smee was one such young person. He knew that he wanted to get into the creative, digital & marketing industry as an apprentice and learn by doing.

The challenge he and many other talented young people faced was that there were, two years ago, few agencies prepared to take the risk in investing in non-graduate talent. The Partnership were one of the few. They saw the possibilities offered by taking on someone with evident potential and training them up to do things their way, to their standards and within their culture. Following a rigorous assessment process and a lot of competition Tom secured the apprenticeship and spent the first 12 months completing his level 3 qualification in Creative & Digital Media. He’s now employed full time by The Partnership as a Junior Front End Developer, works with Creative Alliance to support the learning of other young people, and is considering progressing onto a Level 4 (Foundation Degree level) qualification in Interactive Design and Development.

David Fyfe, Director of The Partnership, explains his thinking behind why they have invested in young talent:

“Here at The Partnership we have recognised for some time the growing importance of digital in the marketing mix. But as a relatively small business, there are a number of elements we needed to balance up:

  • We had a reasonable reputation with our clients for digital, but were often not considered alongside undiluted digital agencies as specialists
  • We had some good work in our portfolio, but needed a greater depth and variety to stand up as specialists
  • We have a core of people in place, but had to guard against overloading these, but couldn’t justify the cost of going to market for a full time experienced recruit

Recruiting Tom as a Digital Apprentice ticked all the boxes, by adding to our resources, giving the established guys more room to develop more adventurous and leading edge digital solutions, without the expense and commitment of an employee that would not be fully occupied in the medium term.

But 18 months on, Tom is a valuable part of an expanded team that is pulling up trees with exciting and innovative digital solutions that are wowing our clients and gaining us a great reputation – the platform for further growth.

At the same time, Tom has had an opportunity that may otherwise have passed him by – we have been able to introduce him to our ways as an agency and he is now set on an upward plane, learning new skills every day and is a valuable member of a growing team and business. Being able to introduce new blood is a critical factor in evolving as an agency – bringing in fresh attitudes and ideas and adding to the social mix that’s essential to create a vibrant and creative environment.”

The Partnership are always one of our ‘go to’ agencies. They are very supportive of supporting new talent, open to new possibilities, will say yes when it they can and recognise their investment makes commercial, creative and social success.