Publicis wants data “apprentices,” M&C goes for creativity

Two different views of what agencies need perhaps. Publicis is partnering with apprentice-finder Multiverse, Tony Blair son Euan’s creation, to expand what it calls its ‘data academy’ to 100 employees or apprentices.

This will, it says, give the lucky 100 the chance to “train and work in data skills.” It doesn’t say whether they have a choice.

There are three courses on offer: a 13-month Data Literacy programme, which covers the core technical skills required to transform data into insights, as well as softer skills like building narratives and presenting findings.

*A 15-month Data Fellowship, which Publicis said will give apprentices the skills to clean, analyse and model data, and tell data stories to non-specialists.

*An Advanced Data Fellowship – a degree-level programme – which will empower apprentices to develop their skills in data analysis and data science.

Chief product officer Ben Silcox says: “The Data Academy is a smart way for us to help people from across our business build their own data and digital skills to accelerate their careers with us, while upskilling our people to help deliver for our clients.”

Meanwhile M&C Saatchi has teamed up with the University of Greenwich to set up a creative advertising degree, as part of an ongoing relationship. It already helps with Greenwich’s Carbon Academy initiative (below).

The Creative Advertising and Art Direction degree starts in September. Course modules include visual thinking, consumer culture, side hustle (a horrible expression that means working on the side), creative communications, brand storytelling and brand “world-building.”

Students can choose from specialisms including art direction, copywriting, moving image, experiential, digital content and a variety of other visual and written branding communications. They will be able to train at M&C Saatchi in their second year where they will work on live projects and be mentored.

CCO Ben Golik says: “I thought back to what I wasn’t taught and really wished I’d known. That led to the new Black Book module – helping creative students understand how to collaborate with composers, animators, coders and all the other craftspeople that help bring ideas to life. I can’t wait to meet the next generation of creative superstars as they embark on this journey.”

The programme aims to attract more diverse representation across gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class, age and disability to adland.

Also this week the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has identified what it calls a “talent crisis” across marketing, especially agencies, with data skills high on the shortage list. Which suggests Publicis might be on to something.

Creativity also matters though and the M&C initiatives with Greenwich sounds genuinely useful, if you overlook some of the horrible jargon. But that’s agencies for you. Maybe some of the students’ supposed elders and betters could do with some mentoring in clear communication.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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