Top agencies address serious lack of diversity in London’s digital economy

  • 88.8% of employees in digital are white while 72% of London’s primary school children are black, Asian or ethnic minority
  • Women take up less than 40% of roles in sector

This Place partners with top digital agencies to launch Flipside, an industry-led digital product design training and development programme for talented, unemployed or underemployed young people aged 18-25 from across east London.

The programme is a collaboration between A New Direction and The Skills Lab with funding and support from the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC). Learners will receive world-class insights and training delivered by four founding agencies (Beyond, Made by Many, Sennepustwo) and five new delivery agencies joining for this 2nd round (BIO Agency, Designit, Pixeled Eggs, Reading Room and This Place). Hobs 3D is a host partner. Now running in its second year, Flipside was a finalist in D&AD’s Impact Awards in 2018, with all 12 trainees entering full-time employment by the end of the programme.

Today 12 talented young people from groups traditionally underrepresented in the digital industry, begin a groundbreaking three-month training course designed to be experiential, practical, collaborative and broad, with the aim for them to become digital pioneers of the future, sending a signal to industry to urgently update its approach to diversity and inclusivity in the workforce.

Dawn Mckerracher, UK Managing Director at This Place, commented:
“The digital landscape is constantly evolving and whilst we see fast-paced innovation and change across the industry, we believe there is much greater and faster progress we can make when it comes to diversity. There is a huge pool of talented and ambitious young East Londoners whose fresh perspectives and ideas would greatly enrich the industry.

“With our HQ in Shoreditch, we feel especially strongly about nurturing and championing local talent. We are thrilled to join forces with Flipside and share the knowledge, skills and experiences that will provide these young people with a pathway into digital careers and, hopefully, kickstart a wider diversity movement.”

Paul Brickell, Executive Director of Regeneration and Community Partnerships, LLDC (London Legacy Development Corporation), said:
“There are thousands of jobs in creative and digital technologies coming to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area in the next few years and we want to make sure that local young people have the skills and experience to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities. We are delighted to carry on working with these cutting-edge creative digital agencies to offer young east Londoners the opportunity to develop these skills.”

Oliver Benjamin, Director of Employment and Skills, A New Direction said: Flipside really leads the way in addressing the skills gap in the digital industry, and the wider diversity crisis that is an unfortunate reality in this sector. We are giving world-class training and first-rate opportunities to those who are under-represented – giving them a voice, and saying that it’s not acceptable to be overlooking this untapped pool of talent any longer. At scale, this has the potential to really change the industry.”

The programme aims to: 

1. Train young East Londoners to become digital pioneers – setting them up for success in an ever-changing industry, equipping them with the mindsets, skills and behaviours that allow them to adapt and see opportunities where others might see barriers.

2. Address the serious lack of diversity in the sector – providing opportunities for talented young people from groups traditionally underrepresented in the digital industry, including non-graduates, women and non-binary people, people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, and deaf, disabled and neuro-diverse people.

3. Create the ripple that becomes the wave – through Flipside we want to have a wide and tangible impact in terms of diversifying the wider industry. We will share what we learn with industry to HR practices in London’s digital industries, changing mindsets and opening up more opportunities for talented and diverse young people to enter the industry.

This Place: Founded in 2012, This Place is a digital strategy and design studio with headquarters in London, and offices in Seattle, Tokyo and Hong Kong. This Place helps influential global brands define and realise their strategic vision through designing better customer experiences.

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