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Want to drive diversity and uncover sources of hidden talent?

A Note From Ally Owen on our 2020 plans



Thanks for wanting to find out more about Brixton Finishing School – it’s really appreciated.

Here’s a recent article I wrote for Campaign that explores post C19 inclusion in the Marketing & Communications industry.

We are on a mission to create an inclusive ‘talent’ blueprint for our homogenous industry. 

We work with young talent from communities ‘underserved’ by industry employers – multicultural, white working-class and neurodiverse. This talent is primed for future excellence in a wide range of entry level roles including marketing, account management, strategy, creative and data/programmatic.


We are currently creating and supporting a large pool of entry level, diverse talent over the summer (and beyond). Recent events and the ongoing pandemic has created the perfect storm to further hamper those who find it challenging to break into the industry.  There is huge disruption to the futures of young people across the UK, with 68% of work experience canceled, placements evaporating and graduate schemes dissipating.

Without a diverse workforce, we’re not going to be able to successfully rebuild post-Covid-19. We need to protect and enrich our talent pipeline with a diversity of voices for employers in the future.

‘BFS’ has created two nationwide, virtual gateways to adland and the creative industries, free and open to all, in addition to Brixton Finishing School 2020 to provide positive pathways and an ever-growing group of entry-level candidates so there is no reason at all to have unbalanced shortlist.


Brixton Finishing School 2020: 29th June – 4th September

36 hand-picked talents, intensive, award-winning course. First pick of talent is available for interviews upon graduation to sponsors.


The AD-Camedy, curated by Brixton Finishing School

Nationwide, 10 weeks, FREE, virtual ‘experience’ (10 hours per week) – Content from BFS recorded and repurposed, additional speed mentoring sessions, and a chance to work on a bespoke Antony Nolan brief.

20th July – 25th September. Currently c. 300 sign ups


Welcome to #Adland Virtual Work Experience week  

Fifty 14-19 year olds, in partnership with Speakers for Schools

13th – 17th July 2020


Please support us with your time, knowledge and investment! 




Ally Owen

To support as an individual:

If you’d like, you can support our crowdfunding campaign –  please follow this link.

To support as an organisation:

Please see below on sponsorship and get in touch with us via

Restricted social mobility stunts the potential of generations and affects every aspect of your life (even its expectancy). Austerity measures and expensive University education (debt) means talented young people can be trapped in low-income roles, working 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs which leaves them little time to improve their prospects.

The Brixton Finishing School for Digital Talent  is a game changer. We believe talent is distributed equally but opportunities are not and wanted to create a premium learning and vocational experience that accelerated 18-25 year-olds Londoners from Multi-Cultural/underrepresented backgrounds (Female, Neurodiverse, Low Income) into the creative/tech/media industries.

We conduct outreach into ‘hard to reach’ groups (they aren’t hard to reach), deliver top rate work readiness training from the best in the business and a pool jobs created just for our graduates at ‘Tier One’ Creative, Media & Advertising companies and within leading brands.

Our 2018 pilot (delivered on a shoestring budget) had a 95% success rate taking 20 young people out of lack of opportunity and into entry-level (majority graduate) roles within 12 weeks of graduation.

It’s taught by the best in the business its students are selected on ‘potential’ (not CVs or qualifications), we fund living cost bursaries (so it’s a true choice e.g. one of our students became homeless, we were able to fund accommodation so they could continue the course/We could cover the job they had to give up to do the course, though the majority still worked 1- 2 jobs).

The Creative Industries tell our stories and heavily influence  how we view ourselves and the world. Advertising, in particular, is the one industry that sells everything to everybody but doesn’t represent everyone. 40% of London is from a BAME background and 52% is female. Only 16% of women are creative directors, the industry a mere 15% BAME and there is very poor inclusion of those from low income/neurodiverse. The top tier remains resolutely undiverse.

“If we change those that tell our stories we can change how we view ourselves and our world”

(…. and also we make more money for shareholders and sell more stuff by producing better work… )

The 10-week course is taught by leading names in the Ad Industry and enriched by masterclasses and all day vocational ‘experiences’ at big-name agencies and media owners. Our sponsors create entry-level roles just for our pool of graduates. It is unique in that it’s an ‘end to end’ solution to the creative industries diversity issues.

How you can support the change and drive #CompetitiveAdvantage through #PowerinDiversity

Our key requirements at the moment are:

Funding for 2020

The school is not for profit and only exists because of our brilliant sponsors (link to sponsors).

Our partners are integrated into the school as much as they wish (for example a seat on the HR board that shapes selection, Education board (course content), mentoring and masterclasses. It’s a great way of ‘selling’ in your brand to the next gen of media all-stars.

The key advantage for a partner is first pick of the pool of talent. As a sponsor, you will visit the school regularly (if you wish) and no doubt over time a number of students will stand out as a fit for you. Partners get to offer interviews and roles before those who haven’t invested.

Sponsorship Investment tiers… 

£14,000 two graduates of BFS 

£7000 one graduate of BFS

£3000 set a one day brief

Set up a Bursary in your company name for living costs (Amount TBC)

We pay all students to travel and food and our ambition are to support those who can’t afford to make the choice between their current job (or jobs) (despite lack of prospects) and the career opportunities the course delivers.

We really would like the opportunity to remove the ‘living cost’ barrier to entry for the course – it’s the only way for it to be truly inclusive. 

We have ambitious plans for 2020 so do let me know if you’re aware of any companies that have a CSR budget and want to support our initiative.

Experience days  / Event days  

One day a week the School visits an agency, brand, media owner or conference for an immersion.  The 2019 students viewed these as one of the most valuable elements of the course. It’s a chance for your business to inspire, showcase and set briefs and for the talent to understand your brand better (and you them)

More mentors 

We definitely require more mentors for 2020. The commitment is a once a week catch up over the 10-week programme (begins around June/July), usually via Skype, email or on the phone and attendance of one of our speed mentoring sessions.


£24 Billion would be the benefit to the British Economy annually if everyone in the workforce was able to fulfil their potential (Race in the Workplace)

Diverse teams produce better ideas and outcomes (McKinsey)