Young homeless people to be encouraged into the creative industry with new ‘ready’ initiative


Young homeless people to be encouraged into the creative industry with new ‘ready’ initiative

Young homeless people are to be encouraged into the creative industry by The READY Initiative – a ground-breaking, 15-month salaried apprenticeship for young people who have experienced homelessness and are more suited to a creative career.

More than 100,000 young people ask for help with homelessness each year in the UK, according to Centrepoint [1]. And unsurprisingly, finding employment is tough. Often, the jobs they find are manual or service-led roles. Yet research suggests many of these individuals find it hard to stay in such roles as they are highly creative. Which is where The READY Initiative comes in.

The READY Initiative has been developed by leading marketing services agency RAPP UK, in partnership with youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, education specialist Creative Pioneers, and homelessness experts at Cardiff University. READY aims to find and develop these disadvantaged individuals by giving them the skills and aptitude to flourish and grow in any creative workplace, not just advertising.

RAPP UK Chief Creative Officer Al Mackie said, “The READY Initiative is all about standing up for individuality and we’re pleased to say that READY has been designed to find talent that is easily overlooked, through circumstances beyond their own control.” 

The salaried apprenticeship runs for 15 months, during which time participants will work at RAPP UK on live briefs and receive the ongoing support of a bespoke mentor network, an agency starting salary and the same benefits as other full-time employees. 

The successful apprentice will also be enrolled on the Creative Pioneers Junior Content Producer course. This involves spending a day each week learning about art direction, copywriting, video production, social media, blogging, and content creation skills.

Centrepoint, which supports young people who have experience of homelessness, has helped to recruit candidates and will offer them ongoing support, as well as support and advice to RAPP UK.  

A brief to test candidates’ creative potential was set by RAPP UK and shortlisted candidates have been taken forward to spend time in the agency. After three-weeks, one candidate will be taken forward to the apprenticeship scheme whilst the remaining candidates will receive career coaching and support.

Employability and skills expert Sadie Odeogberin from Centrepoint, explains, “The challenge for the Government and third sector organisations is to bridge the gap between the needs of employers and goals and aspirations of young people. We’re excited to be part of The READY Initiative which reflects this need. We’d love to see more creative companies getting involved with these young people.”

Mackie added, “We hope The READY Initiative will encourage other agencies to get out there and take meaningful action around recruitment, meaningful action around the industry’s work force and meaningful action to be truly inclusive.”

RAPP UK, Centrepoint and Creative Pioneers believe The READY Initiative should be an open platform and is inviting anyone interested in learning more about how they can replicate it in their own company to contact them.

[1] Centrepoint’s Youth Homelessness Databank estimates that last year 103,000 16-24 year-olds asked their council for help because they were homeless or at risk.