How apprentices have boosted IPG Mediabrands

The Challenge

IPG Mediabrands is one of the UK’s leading marketing agencies and an industry leader in the digital space. Working with some of the biggest brands around, the media network advises clients where best to place their advertising, and helps structure deals to achieve that.

The company operates in a competitive sector, in which the war for talent can get intense. Finding the right people with the necessary skills is not easy in such a fast-moving and dynamic industry.

With that in mind, IPG Mediabrands went in search of a solution to its talent acquisition challenge. The journey led them to Arch Apprentices, a training provider that has carved out a niche in the Digital and IT apprenticeship space.


The Objective

Sarah Mitchell, IPG Mediabrands Talent Acquisition Manager claims that from the off, Arch was ahead of the game in finding the right people to fit the company’s needs.  “The process has been quite simple,” she says. “Arch came in and took the time to understand the roles we were recruiting for. They did all the work – sourcing the best CVs, advising us on how to proceed, inviting people in for interviews and running things like a normal recruitment process.”

Jason Moss of Arch Apprentices explained, “Working with a company like IPG Mediabrands means understanding their very high level demands: they need good people with the right attitude – and they need them quickly and with the minimum of fuss. That’s what we aimed to provide.”

Alex Norman runs IPG Mediabrands’ Ad Operations team and has also been impressed with the calibre of candidates put forward by Arch to begin Digital Apprenticeships. “They’ve come into the role with great tenacity and enthusiasm for digital,” he says. “The apprentices that Arch have provided are all very savvy with technology. We also find that they’re very savvy about the demands and trends within the tech space”.


How Arch Apprentices Helped

So what of the successful apprentices themselves? For Edward Gilbert, pursuing an apprenticeship at a fast-growing company like IPG Mediabrands was a no-brainer. “I thought it was a great way to get into the industry,” he says. “It made a lot more sense than spending three or four years at University and racking up thousands in debt with the possibility of not finding a job in what’s a very competitive sector.”

Luke Brightling was taken on as a digital apprentice in 2014 and says that, having looked at a range of apprenticeship training providers, Arch had the best options available. “I went for the briefing session and found that IPG Mediabrands looked like a really good company to work for. So I came for the interview and it seemed like the right fit for me.”

Gilbert has come on leaps and bounds in his apprenticeship so far, spearheading a project that involved integrating a range of analytics tools, DCM and publishing data to help a major client decide on its digital strategy. “We bring all that together and talk to the planners and buyers to understand what metrics they need from us to do their job better.”


The Future

More progress has followed. Sarah Mitchell reports the first apprentice to enter the scheme got a full time job straight away and the others have been following suit.

“We’ve been successful so far,” Mitchell says, pointing out that when it comes to hiring the most talented people, the right mindset was more important than specific experience. “That means we want people who code in their spare time – digital natives that live and breathe technology.”

The scheme is still in its early days, but clearly, for IPG Mediabrands and their high flying apprentices, the sky’s the limit.


Arch is one of the biggest providers of talent into industries in the UK.  Awarded Ofsted Outstanding, we deliver training to the existing workforce or help recruit young talent into businesses through Apprenticeship Schemes.
Arch recently launched the Arch Levy Services, a service that enables companies to maximise the return on investment from the Apprenticeship Levy.
Over 1,300 people and 500 employers are enjoying the benefits of Arch.
Initially set up by the Blenheim Chalcot Group as an internal initiative to source great talent for the Group and its companies, Arch now has over 3 years’ experience delivering services to other employers including Google, Facebook, The Guardian, Barclays, John Lewis, Waitrose.