Sarah Ridge

Global Campaigns & Partnerships Director, Global Social Impact at dentsu international

COP26 is showing how young people are more engaged than ever on climate action. Dentsu’s The Code Global Rise Up Challenge helps build their creative communications skills and voices, while widening access to our industry. Sarah Ridge, global social impact campaigns director, explains how. 

Hearing the views of younger generations is crucial in tackling food waste, and other environmental and social problems that they will ultimately inherit. This is exactly what dentsu’s flagship The Code programme, and our first global Rise Up challenge for young people, aims to do this year.  

The Code is our schools and early careers programme that brings together students, dentsu’s agencies around the world and some of our biggest clients. This year, the focus is on reducing food waste, and we’re excited to challenge young people to answer briefs from clients including Co-Op and Mondelez.  

We’re looking for diverse, worldly and above all passionately activist people to take part in the Rise Up challenge, who want to help make a big difference by working with some of the biggest brands to help create a better, more equal world for us all.  

It’s clear that the business world has a growing skills gap in becoming more sustainable, and the next generation to come into the workforce will need to help plug it.  

That’s why this programme can be enormously valuable in not just getting young people actively engaged in solving these problems, but developing skills that will help them, and business in the future to create a better world. 

The Code also helps our industry demystify careers in advertising and reach out to people considering career paths and skills relevant to our industry. It broadens and diversifies the audiences we reach and talent we attract, an issue our industry has been grappling with for some time.    

We understand the desire that people of all generations, but particularly the young, have to work for more sustainable employers and to support purpose-driven businesses. In truth, no one generation has all the answers, so bringing multiple generations together is critical in helping to diversify the input and output, to leverage the power and change brands can bring to consumer behaviour through advertising.  

That’s why we’re also adding more scale to The Code this year to make it available through several educational partnerships that extend its reach, including via our collaboration with Junior Achievement Worldwide (JAWW). Given the track record of The Code in engaging young minds, we hope to involve up to 10,000 students around the world this year with our online curriculum driving even greater potential opportunities for people to take part and learn.  

So whether you want to be the ideas person, the smart thinker, subject expert, creator, game-changer or the big boss, the skills offered by the Code can be invaluable for us all. 

If you’re a student or school who would like to use the resources or enter Rise Up, find out more here.