Dirk Poschenrieder, Managing Director of Havas Life Düsseldorf, explains the agency’s latest talent development project, which aims to mentor young people from a diverse variety of backgrounds, and offer them insight and opportunity within our industry.
The social fringe groups have been developed in collaboration with NRW Zentrum für Talentförderung, a body which advocates for children’s and young people’s education for the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Here, Dirk explains the programme and its ambitions to make a meaningful difference to people, a key pillar of our CSR efforts through Havas Impact+.
What is the story behind Havas Life Düsseldorf’s social fringe groups and why were they established?
Our industry is a closed industry. It’s an industry full of people, who look the same, have a similar background and often a similar education. It’s hard for people who don’t know anyone in the industry to understand our business and the potential career opportunities within it. My goal is to change this a little bit and help young professionals from families who are facing difficult circumstances, to get a foot in the door of our wonderful industry.
What is involved in this initiative and what opportunities does it present to people at the beginning of their careers?
Our initiative kickstarted last week. As a first step, I participated in RuhrTalente (a student scholarship programme in the Ruhr area of Germany), where I presented a seminar focused on our industry, and delved into the many career paths and disciplines within advertising. Nearly 50 young people joined the session and were very engaged and asked me every question under the sun.
I mean that in the most positive way! It was amazing to connect with so many young, motivated and interested people. Furthermore, we will offer internships to pupils and/or students and a mentorship with a member of our leadership team (even after completion of the internship). Beyond that, we will offer some international internships in one of our offices in Europe, where we will cover the costs for travel and accommodation. My incredible Havas Health & You colleagues in Europe have supported the programme, and agencies in the UK, France, Spain and Italy have confirmed their participation. This is really a great opportunity for the participants to partake in an internship abroad. As we continue to live with the daily impact of COVID-19, this programme is being built with the future in mind.
Tell us about the collaboration between Havas Life Düsseldorf and NRW Zentrum für Talentförderung (NRW Talent Promotion).
The NRW Zentrum für Talentförderung is the official representative for the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, to promote the talent development of children and young people, regardless of their circumstances.
As a platform for talent promotion, the NRW organises and supports innovative initiatives and scholarships for the intensive promotion of high-performing and committed talents, for example, the RuhrTalente school scholarship programme and the StipendienKultur Ruhr (an initiative which educates and informs secondary school students of scholarship opportunities). I reached out to the NRW Zentrum für Talentförderung and we spoke about my ideas, how we can support them, and we directly had a connection. We share the same values and the same understanding of what social responsibility is about. It was the perfect match.
Why do you think initiatives like this are so important for the Group?
It’s not only important for Havas. It’s important for our community in general. It is our social responsibility to build a more equitable industry, and society, for everyone. The development of talents in children and young people must be regardless of their circumstances. One of the most wonderful things about Havas is that we have the freedom to be socially engaged. It’s intentional that we do that. In 2020, Havas launched Havas Impact+, a unique CSR brand structuring our six commitments around three key pillars: environment, meaningful communication and people. Through Havas Impact+, we are encouraged to harness the power of creative ideas to bring about positive change in society and we share those values without reservation. That’s what my team and I here at Havas Life Düsseldorf hope to achieve with this programme.