Hackney Community College and Austin Community College in Texas are collaborating with big brands and agencies in a ‘Millennial Mentoring’ initiative aimed at developing the skills of digital natives – and highlighting their unique value to business in the process.
Agencies and organisations in the UK – Real-time Content Labs, MRY, Poke and Shellsuit Zombie – have teamed up with UK counterparts Capital Factory, Nineten and 3daystartup for the project, which will include input and guidance from brands such as British Airways.
The course offers places for three teams of four students aged 18-21 who will complete training modules on marketing, research and prototyping before being tasked with a brief for one of the client’s involved. The groups then have six weeks to work on it before presentations at SXSWi – where the concept was originally conceived by Jon Burkhart of Real-Time Content Labs - in March. D&AD president Laura Jordan-Bambach will be on the judging panel.
Ian Ashman, principal, Hackney Community College, said: “With such high levels of unemployment here in Hackney, it’s so important that our young people have positive role models who can show them what’s possible in their lives and careers.
“Millennial Mentoring will give the students taking part some invaluable experiences, from collaborating with their counterparts in Austin, to getting the chance to pitch to a group of senior marketers. It will also show businesses the talent pool we have in colleges, from which they can recruit. We’re thrilled to be taking part in what we hope will become an annual initiative.”
Burkhart added: “I’ve spent the last four years trying to get brands to respond in real-time so they can be more relevant to digital natives, and we’ve got a long way to go. According to the latest #SocialCEO report from stamplondon.co.uk, only 26 CEOs from the FTSE 100 maintain a presence on a social network.
“I think our Millennial Mentoring program can help change this. In exchange for invaluable work experience, our apprentices can mentor CEOs and CMOs and help their brands stop showing up two weeks too late to the party.”
Sponsors BA, Adobe and RetailMeNot have made financial contributions in order to cover students' travel costs over the five-month course.