Dentsu Aegis Network’s flagship schools programme The Code launches digital curriculum in response to COVID-19

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Innovative training initiative to bridge the skills and diversity gap for budding marketers in the era of social distancing

London: Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) today announces the launch of its new online curriculum for schools, delivered through its flagship schools programme, The Code. The new curriculum, designed and developed by DAN experts in digital, media and creative communications, will go live on Monday 1st June. The digital curriculum, aimed at students aged 15 to 18, has been launched  in response to COVID-19 and the resulting halt to Work Ready Programmes across the UK. It will be delivered in partnership with leading underrepresented talent specialist MyKindaFuture.

The Code’s digital programme is designed to open the doors of the creative and digital industries to people from diverse backgrounds, creating employment opportunities for the next generation and diversifying the talent pipeline for the industry. According to the latest IPA Agency Census, BAME representation in UK agencies has fallen dramatically at each of the three highest levels of seniority, showing that more needs to be done to diversify the talent pipeline. The barriers facing students from diverse background will only increase in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with rising unemployment and sustained economic instability. Yet with fewer than 1% of UK children in school, access to Work Ready initiatives including work experience has become more challenging. This is having a profound impact on the learning and development of all young people and highlights the urgent need to fill that learning gap.

The digital curriculum will consist of educational video courses created by DAN employees, with the learning platform providing access to more than 20 active mentors from DAN, available to help students online with any questions or queries. In this new and innovative digital curriculum, students will learn skills not previously shared by DAN, including the importance of data using its audience insight tool (CCS) and people-based marketing approaches.

Launching concurrently is a digital version of The Code’s Rise Up competition, in which students compete to provide creative solutions to real briefs from clients. This year, students will tackle a brief from international FMCG brand Mondelēz. Prizewinners will secure two weeks of work experience with the brand, with other prizes up for grabs including career coaching from senior DAN staff. Students will be able to respond creatively in teams or as individuals with entries closing on Friday 10th July. Judging will then take place over summer ahead of a virtual finale in September. The curriculum and competition will be hosted online on MyKindaFuture’s digital learning ‘Connectr’ platform, opening up the competition to its nationwide network of schools and teachers. 

Euan Jarvie, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network UK and Ireland, said: “Many students in the UK lack access to digital and creative skill development, compounding barriers to entry for disadvantaged and BAME pupils for our industry. COVID-19, and the subsequent lack of formal face-to-face education for pupils, has only entrenched these difficulties and may make it even harder for students to gain workplace-relevant experience and skills.

“By digitising The Code’s curriculum and providing opportunities to get stuck into a real client brief through the Rise Up Challenge, we hope to inspire and educate thousands of UK students - while giving our own employees who work on the content and as mentors meaningful involvement in our Social Impact programme. The UK is just the beginning as we work to ensure our Social Impact programmes globally continue to improve despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. The hard work and time dedicated by huge numbers of volunteers across our network to achieve this in such a short period is really incredible, and a testament to the ambition and empathy of our people.”

Will Akerman, Founder and Managing Director, MyKindaFuture, added: “With COVID-19 bringing all face-to-face work experience programmes to a halt, MyKindaFuture is passionate about offering disadvantaged young people the opportunity to engage with employers and build the skills and confidence they need to succeed via digital solutions.

“Our online learning tool, Connectr, provides the perfect platform to bring this learning to life and we are thrilled to be partnering with Dentsu Aegis Network to offer invaluable experience and resources to thousands of underprivileged students across the UK. Working with our national network of school partners, we are confident that the programme will be successful in allowing DAN to build long-term relationships with education providers across the country, whilst providing support to the young people who need it most during this challenging time.”

The launch comes as DAN works to evolve its global Social Impact programmes to meet the needs of women and young people in an increasingly challenging environment. Launching first in the UK, DAN aims to roll The Code digital curriculum out across global markets, including the US and Canada, and follows hot on the heels of the launch of its digital business growth programme for US female entrepreneurs, the Female Foundry.


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About The Code

Dentsu Aegis Network’s flagship schools programme, The Code, was launched in response to the growing importance of having a diverse talent pipeline and to open the doors of our industry to people from all backgrounds. A practical programme to equip young people with the skills they need to thrive in a digital economy, its goal is to build the future marketers for the industry and create opportunities for those who may not have considered a creative digital marketing career otherwise. Since The Code was launched in the UK in 2017, 12,500 students  have been supported to date through programmes scaling across nine markets.

The Code has previously been run as a face-to-face programme, with DAN volunteers offering immersive school workshops, work experience, apprenticeships and competitions. Previous years have seen partnerships with Channel 4 and Facebook, and clients including Jaguar Land Rover and WWF. Rise Up competitions allow students to dive in deeper, learning the importance of research, data and technology to inform creative and media planning on real client briefs.

Active agency participants in The Code include Merkle, mcgarrybowen, Vizeum, Carat, The Story Lab, Data2Decisions, B2B International and central DAN functions such as New Business and Social Impact.

 About Dentsu Aegis Network

Part of Dentsu Inc., Dentsu Aegis Network is made up of ten global network brands - Carat, Dentsu, dentsu X, iProspect, Isobar, mcgarrybowen, Merkle, MKTG, Posterscope and Vizeum and supported by its specialist/multi-market brands. Dentsu Aegis Network is Innovating the Way Brands Are Built for its clients through its best-in-class expertise and capabilities in media, digital and creative communications services. Offering a distinctive and innovative range of products and services, Dentsu Aegis Network is headquartered in London and operates in 145 countries worldwide with more than 40,000 dedicated specialists. 

About MyKindaFuture

MyKindaFuture is the UK’s leading overlooked talent specialist. The company works with employers to attract, recruit and retain underrepresented and diverse talent, including young people and those returning to the workplace.

About Mondelēz International

Mondelēz International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) empowers people to snack right in over 150 countries around the world. With 2019 net revenues of approximately $26 billion, MDLZ is leading the future of snacking with iconic global and local brands such as OREO, belVita and LU biscuits; Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka and Toblerone chocolate; Sour Patch Kids candy and Trident gum. Mondelēz International is a proud member of the Standard and Poor’s 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Visit or follow the company on Twitter at