Digital agency DEPT has introduced Ignite, a novel internship programme designed to address what it says is an “underrepresentation “ of black talent in the digital industry.
The Manchester-based agency is providing five three-month internships exclusively to black individuals, covering roles in client services, development, design, copywriting, and strategy.
Black talent makes up three per cent of the UK advertising industry’s workforce, and DEPT thinks it should be higher. Each intern will gain mentorship from existing black employees and the opportunity to work on client projects including eBay, Gumtree, Ancestry, and more.
Melissa Hermitt, MD of design and technology at DEPT, expressed, “For us to deliver world-class work, we need a balanced team. We require an inclusive team with diverse perspectives and experiences. However, black talent is significantly underrepresented within the industry. Our Ignite programme aims to offer, develop, and retain young Black talent, allowing us to uphold our mission of delivering exceptional work.”
The Ignite programme is spearheaded by Onyx, DEPT’s exclusive employee resource group for Black employees. Onyx operates as a coaching programme, supporting the growth and empowerment of black employees. It aims to create a safe, supportive environment where employees can engage in open discussions, set and work towards goals, encourage independent thinking, and build relationships based on trust.
This Manchester initiative follows a successful pilot programme in Toronto, where four interns were mentored by nine Black professionals and worked on over 70 different client projects. DEPT plans to expand this scheme across EMEA in the long run. The agency has also partnered with various external charities and organizations, such as The Prince’s Trust, which supports at-risk young people, and Catch 22, a charity dedicated to removing employment barriers for young individuals.
Our Ignite programme aims to offer, develop, and retain young Black talent, allowing us to uphold our mission of delivering exceptional work.Melissa Hermitt, MD of design and technology at DEPT
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