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The Code

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Upskilling the Next Generation

At Dentsu Aegis Network, we want to make sure everyone feels prepared and optimistic about their future. That’s why we’re equipping the next generation of talent with the skills to thrive in the digital economy, through our global flagship schools and early careers programme, The Code.

The Code opens the doors of our industry to students from diverse backgrounds, through immersive workshops, work experience opportunities and apprenticeships.

Through these experiences they gain the technical, craft and strategic soft skills required to succeed in the digital marketing industry. They also work on cutting edge marketing briefs from some of our biggest clients which focus on their biggest sustainability challenges and opportunities.

Founded in the UK, The Code is now live in nine markets - including the UK, US, Canada, China, Singapore, Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark and the UAE. The Code supports our goal to improve the digital skills of 100,000 young people by 2020, and our wider social purpose to create a Digital Economy That Works for All.

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About The CODE
  • “The Code is a fantastic concept that has a real impact on shaping the reality around us, helping young people to get to know their strengths, learn new competencies, opening their minds and inspiring them. Personally, as a boss and father, I believe that we can inspire, strengthen and equip the next generation with the skills necessary to co-create the digital economy.”
    Slawomir Stepniewski CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Poland
  • “What I really enjoy is being able to come up with our own advertising campaign, because it is something so unique and we’d never get this opportunity otherwise. So it’s really cool being able to come up with something that could become a reality.”
    Student taking part in Rise Up Competition, UK
  • “The Code is a critical initiative for us in Canada, by working closely with our schools and early careers programs coupled with bringing the power of our people and network, we’re aiming to make a positive impact on the next generation of talent and wider society.”
    Leah Wilson VP of Talent Acquisition, Dentsu Aegis Network Canada
  • “This programme is life-changing for our students. The group of very diverse students here today are not those who are usually celebrated. It was deeply inspiring and extraordinary for us to see them on stage. This was a huge jump, cognitively and emotionally, for our students, who are not used to this environment or to be told that their ideas matter, that they could have something of value to bring.”
    Teacher and Head of Careers, UK School
  • "Volunteering at DAN is important because it's one way to use our skills to help influence the future generation. For us, it's also a chance to step out of our little bubbles and understand different perspectives from young people."
    Volunteer, Dentsu Aegis Network Singapore
  • “This gave me a real experience of what it's like to work on a campaign. It was amazing to learn about the media & advertising industry...this was the best week ever!”
    Student on Work Experience, UK
  • “The thing I liked most is that I had the opportunity to see how the advertising industry works, which only confirmed to me that I’m going in the right direction and I would like to work here.”
    Student on an Insight Day, Poland

Learning Experiences

The Code is made up of different ‘building blocks’ to offer partner schools a range of opportunities for students to engage with the programme:

Workshops

Workshops

Our Dentsu Aegis Network volunteers run inspiring workshops with student classes to give them a taster of what it is like to work in our industry. Students learn the key ingredients of building a successful marketing campaign, gain insight into best in class case studies, and then go on to tackle their own real-life client brief in teams. Their pitching skills are put to test in the presentation round.

Age group: 13 - 14 and 15 - 18 year olds

Duration: 1.5 – 2 hour workshop

Workshops

Rise Up Competition

Rise Up Competition

Rise Up Competition

We believe that the next generation has the ideas, the passion and the power to mould a better future for our world. We challenge student teams to channel this energy into a digital marketing competition where they create an awareness campaign to solve a societal problem, or tackle the current sustainability focussed marketing challenge of one of our biggest clients. Previous clients we have worked with include WWF, Jaguar Land Rover and Mastercard.

Students go through an immersive workshop, delivered by our people, to prepare them for entry into the competition. Shortlisted teams attend a finale event and pitch in front of a senior panel of judges, with a chance to win prizes such as work experience with our business.

Age group: 15 - 18 year olds.

Insight Days

Insight Days & Work Experience

Students experience the best of our network – the people, the work, the culture – and learn skills along the way. They also put their newfound skills to use by working on a marketing challenge from one of our clients.

Age group: 15+

Duration: 1 day – 1 week

Insight Days

Case Studies

UK United Kingdom BG Bulgaria PL Poland SG Singapore UAE United Arab Emirates USA United States CA Canada CN China
The UK was the first market to launch The Code in 2017. Dentsu Aegis Network partners with schools across the country to deliver interactive workshops and competitions.
Since launching, The Code has supported over 9,000 young people across 100 schools in the UK and in July 2019, Dentsu Aegis Network London welcomed 32 students for work experience.
Kian, a judge from the Rise Up Competition said: “There is something very special about using the power of creativity to solve society’s biggest challenges. As shown today, every single student has a unique ability to change the world for the better, they just need the chance to do so.”
Launched at Bulgaria's Digital Camp in February 2019, the initiative is a collaboration between Dentsu Aegis Network Bulgaria and Isobar Commerce Bulgaria.
In March, 300 students (aged 14-15) across seven schools participated in the Rise Up digital marketing competition. Students tackled marketing and e-commerce briefs from clients Mastercard and Mondelez.
Radoslav Nedelchev, Chief Operating Officer of Dentsu Aegis Network Bulgaria and Social Impact Champion said: "This is a great opportunity for us to show in practice how the digital economy can work for betterment of society. For us, social impact is not the "icing on the cake" but instead a must-do that empowers the future of our business.”
Dentsu Aegis Network Poland is striving to improve the digital skills of around 2,300 young people through The Code in 2019.
48 high school students experienced work experience insight days at the Dentsu Aegis Network office in Warsaw, supported by 25 volunteers from the organisation. Students also spent time working on a live marketing brief from Gillette, as well as job shadowing employees to learn more about careers in the industry.
Slawomir Stepniewski, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Poland, said: “The Code is a fantastic concept that has a real impact on shaping the reality around us, helping young people to get to know their strengths, learn new competencies, opening their minds and inspiring them.”
Dentsu Aegis Network APAC launched The Code in Singapore in July 2019. According to the Digital Society Index 2018, almost two-thirds (64%) of people in Singapore are concerned that the pace of technological change is too fast. The Code aims to address this, by helping young people to develop the skills they need to thrive in the digital economy.
65 Dentsu Aegis Network volunteers hosted ‘Introduction to Advertising’ workshops, in secondary schools, reaching 400 young people aged 15-16. Students were challenged to bring a client brief to life, promoting a new advertisement for KFC’s sustainability campaign “Say NO to Plastics” and then pitched back their ideas to peers.
A Dentsu Aegis Network volunteer commented: "Volunteering at Dentsu Aegis Network is important because it's one way to use our skills to help influence the future generation. For us, it's also a chance to step out of our little bubbles and understand different perspectives from young people."
Delivered in partnership with Injaz UAE and Junior Achievement Worldwide, Dentsu UAE launched The Code in February 2020 through a workshop in Dubai.
300 students from six schools will participate in workshops throughout 2020, hosted by 30 members of the Dentsu UAE team. During the workshops, students will gain exposure to the advertising industry and get the opportunity to work on a brief to promote one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Tarek Daouk, CEO of Dentsu Aegis network MENA, said:
"This is an initiative that is close to my heart and I am excited to bring the power of our people and network together to make a positive impact on the next generation of talent and wider society. … We want to encourage the youth of the UAE with new ways of thinking and the ability to adapt to change, something I believe will be vital for the success of future talent and of our business.”
The flagship schools and early careers programme launched in the US in October 2019.
Over 30 students participated in Insight Days at our New York, Detroit and Maryland offices, as part of a pilot of The Code. During 2020 the programme will be expanded across the US, delivered in partnership with NAF - a national network of education, business and community leaders who work together to ensure high school students are future ready.
Bruce Reynolds, US Social Impact Director, said: “Diversity of thought and voices in our industry is critical so that we reflect society and the various communities we serve. The Code is a fantastic way to educate high school youth across the US about marketing in a practical and assessable way.”
Throughout October 2019, students from secondary schools across Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal became the first Canadian cohort to join The Code, taking part in Insight Days at our offices and in-school workshops.
As part of the programme, students had the opportunity to work on real briefs from some of our biggest clients, giving insights into how a future career at Dentsu might look like.
Leah Wilson VP, Talent in Canada said:
“The Code is a critical initiative for us in Canada, by working closely with our schools and early careers programs coupled with bringing the power of our people and network, we’re aiming to make a positive impact on the next generation of talent and wider society.”
Dentsu China invited local Shanghai university students in for the launch of The Code in China in November 2019.
Welcomed by Dentsu senior leaders, students were given insights on what makes a great campaign, and giving them an opportunity to show their skills. Working on a client brief in groups, and with support from Dentsu staff, the students prepared a pitch presentation on their solution, and an overall winner was announced.
After the workshop, students actively expressed their interested in digital marketing, and we are now working on scaling up the programme for 2020.

For Students

We're looking for the next generation of marketers to take part in our digital Rise Up challenge! We're asking you to develop your own creative marketing campaign in response to an exciting real-life client brief. Our free digital curriculum will teach you the skills you need to enter.

Sign up and explore more

For Teachers

If you are a secondary school teacher, we encourage you to make use of our free teaching resources with your students which have been designed to give young people an insight into marketing and media.

Access resources

Get in Touch

Get in Touch

If you are interested in working with Dentsu Aegis Network to bring The Code to your school, register your interest below and we will get in touch.

If you are a Dentsu Aegis Network employee and interested in hearing about volunteering opportunities, please email us here.

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