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Hires, Wins & Business

Havas UK Creates 100 New Government-Backed Jobs to Turbocharge Its Entry-Level Placement Scheme

HKX Platform, which targets underrepresented talent from diverse backgrounds, will expand threefold by the end of the year

Havas UK Creates 100 New Government-Backed Jobs to Turbocharge Its Entry-Level Placement Scheme

Marketing and communications group Havas UK has tapped into the Government’s flagship Kickstart scheme – which aims to help young people into work through high-quality, six-month work placements – to turbocharge its entry-level placement scheme, HKX Platform.

The substantial commitment, which includes topped-up pay, will see Havas create 100 new entry-level jobs across its agencies in London, Manchester and Cirencester. It represents a significant evolution of, and investment in, HKX Platform – tripling the number of placements available, doubling their length, and expanding them across more than 20 of Havas’ UK agencies. It will continue to target underrepresented talent from diverse backgrounds to provide access, experience and a network within the communications industry.

The £2 billion Kickstart scheme, part of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs, provides funding to employers to create six-month job placements for young people (aged 16-24) on Universal Credit. Funding available for each job placement will cover the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.

Havas has chosen to significantly enhance these placements – making them full-time positions paying the London Living Wage.

The 100 new roles – comprising two intakes of 50 people before the end of the year – will span a range of disciplines, including account management, creative, data analytics, digital marketing, design, marketing and new business, management consultancy, production, project management, PR, social media, strategy, and HR.

The jobs aim to help young people, particularly those at risk of long-term unemployment, onto the career ladder, giving them the opportunity to build their skills and experience in the workplace. Each will include a full personal development programme, including coaching, CV workshops and interview training, and client sessions, as well as general employability and role-specific skills.

Participating agencies include Havas London (creative), Havas Media (media), Havas CX helia (customer engagement), Gate One (management consultancy), Cake (sport, culture and entertainment), Conran Design Group (design), Havas Studios (production), Cicero/AMO (public affairs), Havas Lynx (healthcare) and Red Havas (PR).

Sharon Annafi, group DE&I lead at Havas UK, says: “We have committed to achieving 25% Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic employees by 2025, and HKX Platform – which has always targeted underrepresented talent from diverse backgrounds – is one of the most powerful tools we have to achieve that. Utilising the Kickstart scheme increases its scale and scope, and gives us the chance to forge relationships with the job centres serving our local communities – complementing existing partnerships with our local Camden and Islington councils.”

Ewen MacPherson, group chief people officer at Havas UK, says: “I’m astonished at the seemingly low uptake of the Kickstart scheme within our industry. We talk about wanting to attract more people from non-traditional backgrounds into our industry; this is the perfect opportunity to do exactly that. HKX Platform has always been about creating those opportunities for new talent, so we’re incredibly excited to be able to expand it – particularly at such a tough time for so many young people. At the end of the scheme, our ambition is to convert as many of these Kickstart-backed roles into permanent positions as we can.”

Vicki Maguire, chief creative officer at Havas London, adds: “As a working-class girl from Leicester with no formal advertising training, you don’t need to tell me this industry needs more non-traditional backgrounds. I didn’t know this industry even existed I was in my twenties! The beauty of creativity is that it comes many guises – but unless we actively seek out a greater range of minds, skillsets and experiences, we’ll never unlock its full potential. What I love about HKX Platform is that it gives kids who would never have found our way into this industry the chance to have the same ‘lightbulb’ moment I did.”

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