Agency ELVIS on Championing Diversity

Posted 5 March 2019

Camilla Yates, Planning Director at ELVIS shares their mission to create a more inclusive creative industry and why they have teamed up with Media Trust to discover new talent.

At ELVIS, we believe that the best ideas come from bringing together different points of view, or seemingly unconnected sources of inspiration. They’re fostered in culturally rich environments that welcome different perspectives.

Creating industry-wide change

We want to create a more inclusive working environment. Not just inside Elvis’ offices, but more broadly in the Creative Industry, where diverse talent enjoys genuinely equal opportunities for sustainable career progression.

An equal system takes diversity for granted.  This is our ultimate aim. Not just because we want to ‘do good’ (which obviously, we do), but because we believe workplace diversity drives better ideas and results.

Diversity in the creative industries isn’t just a gender, race and disability issue. It’s also an accessibility issue.

At Elvis we have a female CEO and 50% female board. Our mean gender pay gap is 7.8% – well ahead of most of the industry. But we need to go further in order to create the level playing field that agency life should represent. Diversity in the creative industries isn’t just a gender, race and disability issue. It’s also an accessibility issue. Starting out in the industry often means relocating to London and interning for peanuts. This creates a walled garden, inaccessible to people from low income backgrounds.

Our work with Media Trust

We’ve been working with Media Trust to start remedying this from the ground up. Media Trust is a communications charity that believes in the power of media to change lives. One of their goals is to help young people break into the creative industries, and they focus on outreaching to young people from under-represented or hard to reach backgrounds.

We are providing one-to-one mentoring in our office for 17-25 year olds over the course of the year, in order to give focused, practical help that will enable them to kickstart their careers. From CV writing, to deciding on the right course to up-skill their talent, to honing confidence and presentation skills, our mentees are seeing opportunities opening up to them as they develop.

The ELVIS team with a group of Media Trust trainees

The ELVIS team with a group of trainees on Media Trust's Creativity Works: Multimedia Genius training programme.

Elvisians from every department in the agency have also run advertising masterclasses as part of the Media Trust’s ‘Creativity Works: Multimedia Genius Training’ which helps creative young Londoners who are not in employment, education or training break into the industry.

We’ve been so impressed with the creativity, personality and intelligence of the people we’ve met as part of these programmes that we’ve since offered them the chance to apply for contract and permanent roles in our agency. The connections we’re making with young people are creating a diverse, highly talented pool of potential new starters at Elvis, who in future could be instrumental to creating unexpected and unforgettable work for our clients.

We’d urge other agencies in the creative industries to get involved with Media Trust and open their doors to more diverse talent, so 2019 can be the year that the industry makes a genuine change. The future’s bright.

You can find out more about working with Media Trust and becoming a mentor on one of our youth media programmes by emailing Volunteering Manager, Kassandra Gordon.  

This article was first published online here  and adapted by Camilla Yates.

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