Launching OPEN_: An Internship Programme to Drive Change

Will Cook

18 May 2022

Diversity, equality, and inclusion is central to the Harvard culture. It’s our People First promise to create an environment where anyone, from any background, feels safe, inspired, and able to thrive, to make their move. As part of this, we are immensely proud to hold The Blueprint Ally Status.

Our commitment is about the diversity and equality of our workforce, but it’s also about fostering and actively nurturing an inclusive culture built on empathy, shared values, and behaviours.

In our inaugural DE&I Report, launched in November last year, we brought to life all the ways we have acted on this mission in the last 12 months and our action continues.

OPEN_ to meaningful action

We’re very excited to be partnering with the OPEN_ programme, which will offer young people who have been previously marginalised or unable to access the industry, a seven-month paid internship. OPEN_ is a joint venture between Livity and Hidden, designed to replace traditional graduate schemes in businesses focusing on outreach to communities to promote mobility and access to our industry. For many, this creates the opportunity to build a career in marketing and communications.

Together with our sister agency Teamspirit, we will welcome a cohort of five interns into the business in June, providing opportunities across our PR, marketing, and creative divisions. On finishing the programme, the interns will emerge with a rounded skillset to build a career in marketing and communications which, we hope, will continue to be at Harvard.

We believe the talent going through the OPEN_ programme will bring new thinking, different perspectives, and innovation to our work, as we continue in our quest to deliver defining and best-in-class work for our clients.

As well as on-the-job learning, the cohort will receive one-month training at the start of the programme, creating a depth of industry knowledge and providing the core skills to feel comfortable and ready to thrive. Then once within the business, members will receive ongoing workshops, coaching and training from leaders across the business.

The power of partnerships

We recognise to drive and deliver meaningful change we must partner with others to break down barriers that have and continue to insulate the industry. We are hugely excited to be collaborating further with both Livity and Hidden.

On our collaboration, Kate Johnson from Hidden said: “It’s their continued appetite for and work towards change that make Harvard a standout place to work, and partner to work with. They chose to invest in working with Hidden to reframe their approach to hiring ever since 2020, and now are investing in the next generation of talent.

Paramount to ensuring this talent joins the industry after opening the doors with this programme is giving them the fast start with training. Likewise, we will continue to work closely with Harvard and Teamspirit to tackle implicit bias, play to the strengths of their employees, and maximize the opportunity with these individuals.”

And Emily Goldhill from Livity added: “We have the privilege of being able to access next gen talent for this programme who have often dismissed our industry in favour of going it alone, or because they feel there is no pathway for them to break through. It’s precisely this kind of talent which will enable our industry to innovate and solve the problems we are facing today. After 21 years working hand in hand with young talent, Livity knows first-hand what a force they can be. We’re excited to build on a rich heritage of first-class industry led training with this partnership.”

OPEN_ will provide pastoral care and help ensure the interns get the support they need to thrive, working in partnership with our People Team at Harvard.

All our DE&I work at Harvard is underpinned by our six-pillared DE&I strategy and kept on track with our DE&I Committee, who are a group of individuals representing different parts of the business. The Committee ensures there is a strong connection between DE&I leadership and the broader agency – helping to shape and provide feedback on the DE&I strategy and progress. It is a core layer of governance as we continue our DE&I journey.

The launch of OPEN_ is a further example of the action we continue to take on our DE&I journey, committed to creating lasting change and we can’t wait for the programme to get started.

If you are interested in applying for the OPEN_ Programme, you can find more information here