Is the industry ready to look beyond ad schools?

A new initiative from Cream pairs young non-ad school talent with mentors at London agencies, in an attempt to kickstart them into a creative career. We ask the mentees if the industry is finally embracing diversity as more than a buzzword

Every year, The Talent Business’s Cream exhibition showcases up-and-coming creatives from around the world, as selected by a panel of judges. Now in its 18th year there’s a new strand to the programme, which has begun welcoming talent from “less typical routes” – that is, not ad school or university – for the first time.

As part of this it’s launched new mentoring scheme Express Talent, which pairs aspiring creatives with senior agency staff, who can give them feedback, set them briefs, and help them develop their books over the course of eight weeks.

It joins several other initiatives aiming to get people from a more diverse set of backgrounds into the industry, including D&AD New Blood Shift – night school for young talent that hasn’t been to university – and the Creative Mentor Network – which encourages agencies to support a more diverse and inclusive culture long term. There’s also the School of Communication Arts’ scholarships for less privileged students, and Commercial Break, which gets 18-24-year-olds into industry with a pop-up agency that works on live briefs for brands.

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