ONE School UK
WPP collaborated with The One Club for Creativity to introduce ONE School UK, an online portfolio programme spanning 16 weeks, aiming to provide opportunities for promising Black creatives based in the UK to enter the advertising industry, free of charge.
ONE School launched in the US in 2020 as a free alternative to ad schools to provide new career opportunities for creative Black individuals and make agency and brand creative departments more diverse. The results-oriented school has already made a tangible difference: an 80% hire rate at top agencies and brands for its 128 graduates to date, 65% of whom are women.
The virtual ONE School UK welcomed its first cohort in March 2023. Black creatives from all walks of life were encouraged to apply for one of just 15 sought-after places. No prior knowledge of advertising required. It is being run by Ez Blaine, founding Creative Partner at Uncommon Experience Studio in London. Born in Hackney and raised in North London, Blaine ran ONE School West while living in Los Angeles. He previously held creative leadership positions at several leading brands and agencies, including AKQA.
ONE School teaches students how to navigate the industry as a Black person. Courses are taught by Black tutors – including some from WPP agencies – and are designed to help students bring their authentic voice into their work.
The US programme was co-founded with The One Club for Creativity by Spotify Creative Director Oriel Davis-Lyons, who worked with industry veteran and One Club Head of Creative Development Bob Isherwood to develop the school shortly after the death of George Floyd. The initiative aims to ensure that the high cost of portfolio schools does not get in the way of giving world-class Black creative talent a route into the industry.
Black creatives wanting to make the leap into advertising can find more details about ONE School UK, including information on how to apply, at https://oneschooluk.org/.