We Rise x Leo Burnett: Our latest commission exemplifies the need for many more high quality work experience projects!

We pride ourselves on being a dynamic and responsive organisation when it comes to helping clients reach young people even if their project has a short deadline.  With our tried and tested recruitment processes we can reach young people and assemble teams at speed as we have nurtured beneficial relationships with a growing list of local schools over the last 5 years.  

So when returning clients, global advertising agency Leo Burnett approached us to help them find out what would make a product more appealing to 16-18 year olds, we were able to mobilise a team and help them deliver the brief as one of our work experience projects within an impressive 2 week window.

It was fantastic to have such an effective response from the teachers at South Bank UTC, The Elmgreen School, La Retraite 6, Harris Clapham Sixth, The Norwood School and Liliyan Baylis Technology School, who shared our recruitment information amongst their students at lightning speed. We knew that the demand for such high quality work experience projects is out there but the response to this call out was unprecedented – we were 5 x over subscribed for the 14 places available within just 48 hours!  

So what was it about the project that made it so popular?

In a word it was ‘access’ – being able to experience how an industry expert like Leo Burnett, who’s major clients include McDonalds, Vodafone, Morrisons, Tui and Confused.com works is incredibly attractive. Wanting an insightful and inspiring opportunity was a huge draw for the young people who applied, most of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds and would not easily have access to this kind of valuable work experience elsewhere: 

I learnt that there are various different types of jobs needed for advertising and they have their own unique way of team working to create the best advert.’ – Juan, project participant

They also come away with new skills and strengths that they can’t get at school:

‘Meeting new people is my biggest fear and I got over it. Through teamwork instead of working with someone I already know and having partners I don’t know has increased my confidence and being able to open up. Finding out about other people and meeting new people helps me speak up for myself.’ – Bahja, project participant.

How did we ensure that Leo Burnett got the information they needed while also delivering a work experience project?

We work with our clients to ensure that they get the product they need as any other consultancy would do but our USP is that it’s young people who are delivering their brief with our expert coaching.  This maximises value for all those involved and creates a win – win situation.  Our clients have a unique insight or piece of work that provides moments of revelation due to the fact that it has been delivered by young people.  In return the young people taking part get the kind of interactive, productive and empowering experience that gives them the step up they desperately deserve.  As with the first Leo Burnett project we ran with Hayley Power in 2021, this project has also helped drive diversity in the (advertising) work place.

The project took place over 2 days in early February 2024 and it knitted together insight sessions into the world of advertising delivered by the wonderful Leo Burnett team of Ali, Geo, Jas, Jan, Maddie and Steph, with workshops where the young cohort developed their creative ideas individually and in teams.  Jas and Geo’s ‘expectations vs the reality of working in advertising’ session was incredibly impactful.  

Encouraging the young participants to share and present their ideas was empowering but the most common piece of feedback they gave us was that by working together they were able to develop even better ideas which is exactly what advertising creatives do so the project certainly delivered the brief: 

‘The discussions we had as a group, you could really bounce off people’s ideas and see certain ideas from a different perspective.’ – Anisa, project participant

‘The best part was creating ideas and sharing them because you could listen to other people’s ideas and build up on them.’ – Juan, project participant

Given how oversubscribed the applications were for places there is clearly a high demand amongst young people for work experience projects like this and we know that it isn’t limited to the creative advertising sector.  

Here’s what Senior Strategist Ali Arnold-Jones at Leo Burnett had to say about working with us on the project:

“It was such a pleasure to have the We Rise students with us getting stuck into one of our live client briefs as well as getting the opportunity to show them the vast array of different career opportunities in the advertising industry. We were really impressed with the ideas that they came up with and how confidently they were able to present back in such a short space of time and will definitely be looking to run more workshops for our clients in the future”

The We Rise team having a group discussion about the project

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