MSL UK partners social enterprise to 'break down PR entry barriers'

MSL UK is entering a partnership with a social enterprise community group for a new scheme to encourage more diverse talent into the agency and the sector.

The Fast FWD scheme is being run by the agency and Supa Network, which has a creative community of more than 5,000 people with a specific focus on individuals from BME backgrounds and low-income groups.

Under the Fast FWD scheme, which is aimed at young people aged 18 to 27, MSL and Supa Network will run two programmes, each lasting six months.

Eleven participants will be taught about the industry by staff at MSL and parent company Publicis Groupe. At least two learning and development courses will be held per month – titles include Ideas to Believe In, How to Sell an Idea, and Copywriting 101. Mentoring, shadowing, and career/support clinics will also be available.

To ‘graduate’, each participant must attend the learning modules and complete a new, live client assignment in month five; MSL will work with selected clients for the briefs, and participants will be paid for any ideas bought.

Participants will receive funding and support. The aim is to offer them jobs at MSL after graduation, or at the least make them part of the agency's talent/alumni network.

Applications for the first cohort open in May, with the first programme to begin in June. The scheme is open to people living in London and the surrounding area, and professional experience is not required.

MSL said Fast FWD compliments its existing diversity and inclusion strategy called Embrace-Change, which led to 66 per cent of MSL UK hires in 2020 coming from BME backgrounds.

Jo Grierson, MSL UK managing director, said: “We have a simple ambition at MSL to create a home for diverse, fresh talent. We want everyone to feel at home, feel like they belong and that they can thrive. Everyone who works with us should have a career-defining experience and, while on the ride, make some life-long friends.

"Fast FWD is our commitment to help break down the barriers of entry into this industry and accelerate early careers. As part of Publicis Groupe, we can offer unparalleled development opportunities."

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