Developing talent


Training and development

We invest in a range of development programmes to prepare our people to respond to changing client requirements. This year we increased our focus on programmes which equip our people to work collaboratively, connecting across the breadth of our company to deliver for the growing number of clients who seek this type of service.

Overall, we spent £44.9 million on training in 2017 (2016: £45.1 million) with 63% of our people taking part in formal training programmes, averaging 5.6 hours per person.

WPP training programmes include:

  • Maestro: Orchestrating Client Value: Develops the effectiveness and confidence of our senior client-facing people inspiring courage, collaboration and innovation. There have been 4,369 participants from 158 WPP companies since 2003. We’ve now launched Maestro Fusion, a five-day course to help our client team leaders navigate complex business issues and to transform client and internal relationships from transactional to trust-based partnerships.
  • WPP Mini MBA: Workshops to help our rising talent broaden their business and marketing knowledge, develop leadership skills, and deliver client value. To date, 3,160 of our people have participated. Our latest module is focused on how to help clients who look to WPP to provide an agile, integrated and bespoke partnership across multiple disciplines. It covers mindsets and skills including: relationship building, communication and influence, cross-cultural competence and discipline fluency.
  • WPP Fellowship: Our pioneering three-year programme develops high-calibre management talent with experience across a range of marketing disciplines. 204 Fellows have gone through the program or are participating.
  • WPP MBA Fellowship programme: A global multidisciplinary programme for MBA graduates, with 82 participants to date.
  • WPP Leadership Toolkit for Managers: An interactive educational resource hosted on the WPP intranet. Provides knowledge and tools to help users demonstrate effective leadership, nurture their teams, and align them behind organisational goals.
  • The Learning Hub: A new searchable database that enables WPP companies to share training resources and best practices. The database includes 310 resources so far.

Within our companies, employees can participate in a further range of training opportunities to develop their professional skills, leadership competencies and functional expertise.

People talking in an office 

Internships and apprenticeships

Our companies offer a range of internship and apprenticeship opportunities to attract young people into our industry and help them kickstart their careers.

7,888 paid internships and apprenticeships were offered during 2017 (2016: 6,413). Examples include:

  • Burson Cohn & Wolfe ‘Starting Blocks’: This South African programme empowers candidates from previously disadvantaged groups through practical experience in public relations.
  • JWT London offers internships in partnership with the Drive Forward Foundation, that helps young people who have been through the care system.
  • Kinetic Brussels runs a two-year apprenticeship programme in partnership with a local college. Apprentices complete work experience as well as college courses.
  • Mindshare Academy UK: This future talent programme aims to identify the best diverse talent and support social mobility. Apprentices are recruited from schools across London and complete a year-long apprenticeship with work experience, mentoring and placements.
  • Wunderman New York: Wunderman’s summer internship programme enables college students to own a project from the beginning, working directly with the client. Over the eight-week programme students also participate in training sessions led by Wunderman’s creatives, strategists, analysts and account managers.
  • VMLY&R Z Academy: Offers three- to six-month apprenticeships to students from leading digital marketing, design and social science universities. Participants work on client projects and are paired with executives across Y&R’s global network.

It is WPP’s policy that all internships and apprenticeships should be paid positions so they are accessible to people from all socio-economic backgrounds. Many internships focus on diverse candidates. In the US, for example, several of our companies participate in the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Multicultural Internship Programme (MAIP). Participants gain real-world work experience, with access to training and development, networking opportunities and an alumni network. WPP companies involved include GroupM, Geometry Global, J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy, VMLY&R and Wunderman.

A woman climbing stairs 

Education partnerships

We partner with schools, colleges and universities to promote our industry, build skills and create a future pipeline of talent. Our involvement ranges from strategic partnerships with leading universities to work with schools local to our offices. Many of our people serve as visiting lecturers or teachers.

Investment in skills is particularly important in faster-growing markets where our industry is less well established. Our key partnerships include: the WPP School of Communications and Marketing at the Shanghai Arts and Design Academy (SADA); our partnership with the Indian School of Design and Innovation, in Mumbai, which offers a three-year undergraduate course on marketing communications; and the WPP Africa Academy, in Johannesburg, which provides training and talent development opportunities in partnership with the Red & Yellow School of Logic and Magic, a highly-respected marketing and advertising school.

In the UK we are participating in the Pearson College Rotational Degree Apprenticeship that enables young people to combine apprenticeships across different leading corporations with a business degree. Other examples include our work with the Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon, Portugal to collaborate in masters courses, co-teach executive education courses and support the School on its digital campaigns.

Many of our companies work with local schools to help build skills and alert young people to career opportunities in our industry. In the UK, for example, we support Inspiring the Future, an organisation that connects state schools and colleges with employers and professionals, giving young people better insight into different careers, jobs and educational routes. Over 200 of our people have spent time at local schools talking to children about careers, CVs and interview techniques.

Close message

Privacy Policy

We have updated our Privacy Notice for this website. Please review our Privacy Policy.

Go to Privacy Policy