Top agencies come together to address the serious lack of diversity in London’s digital economy

In September 2021, A New Direction and FARFETCH joined forces with top digital agencies to collectively deliver Flipside – an award-winning, ground-breaking, agency-led product design training programme for talented, unemployed, or underemployed young people aged 18-24, traditionally underrepresented in the digital industry.

Photo credit: Paolo Rizzi, ustwo

About Flipside

Over three months, 8 talented trainees received world class training designed by agency Made by Many and delivered by agencies (Beyond, Made by Many, ustwo, Publicis Sapient, Normally). Now in its third year, the Flipside programme was awarded D&AD 2019 winner in the Beta Diversity & Inclusivity category.

Through a combination of active classroom learning and practical industry experience, trainees developed industry skills on topics including customer research, prototyping, visualisation, concept mapping and testing and validation. Trainees were able to put that learning into practice as they responded to a live brief on sustainability and being more ‘circular and conscious’ set by this year’s Flipside partner, FARFETCH. The brief set a focus on driving revenue from low waste products and circular services – that are recognised or certified as being better for the environment – and enabling positive change through their sales focus, by selling more low-waste products or using circular services.

As the training phase concluded, Flipside trainees pitched their digital product design prototypes at a showcase event, receiving industry feedback from a panel of experts from participating agencies and partners, to prepare them to enter their paid placements. All eight participants received industry mentoring support for the duration of their placement.

This year’s Flipside programme is being delivered as part of the Government’s Kickstart scheme, which aims to support young people on Universal Credit looking for a route into a creative role. Flipside is a Good Growth Hub programme, supported with funding from the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC). The Hub is part of the LLDC’s plan to connect businesses surrounding east London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with local talent through a wide range of employment, skills and enterprise activities and programmes. The Good Growth Hub is operated by A New Direction. 

Partnerships: Get involved

As the Government’s Kickstart scheme will conclude in April 2022, A New Direction are currently seeking agencies, sponsors and funders to help us grow the programme for next year and beyond. If you would like to get involved in any capacity, please contact us to find out more.

It was so inspiring to work with Flipside and see the incredible creativity and talent that went into answering the brief. It’s a fantastic programme and we were very honoured to be involved.

Anita Grummels, Senior Principal Product Manager at FARFETCH

The flipside programme has been a great opportunity to make that first step into the design industry world. It provides the chance to work with new softwares, work as a team towards a final outcome and most importantly flipside has helped build my confidence even more. It’s not only a programme but a community.

Wasim, 2021 Flipside trainee

Flipside really leads the way in addressing the skills gap in the digital industry, and the wider diversity crisis that is an unfortunate reality in this sector. We are giving world-class training and first-rate opportunities to those who are under-represented – giving them a voice, and saying that it’s not acceptable to be overlooking this untapped pool of talent any longer. At scale, this has the potential to really change industry.

Oliver Benjamin, Director of Employment and Skills at A New Direction

The Flipside programme is a brilliant scheme that I am proud to say is being hosted at the Good Growth Hub here at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Hub is all about helping local talent make their first steps into industry and I’m sure many more will follow in the footsteps of the eight trainees who have just completed the programme.

Lyn Garner, Chief Executive at London Legacy Development Corporation