A global communications agency has opened its first UK office outside of London – in Stoke-on-Trent.
VCCP offers everything from advertising, branding and design to social media, content and PR.
It has created advertising campaigns for big-name brands including O2, Compare the Market, Cadbury and Easyjet and boasts offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Madrid, Sydney and Prague.
Now it has added Stoke-on-Trent to the list after moving into the former NatWest bank, in Stoke, which has recently been refurbished by local animation company Carse and Waterman.
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VCCP says the opening of the new office “reflects its ambition to attract more diverse talent into the creative industry.”
It comes after a group of VCCP employees began working in the area a year ago to start building local relationships, and trial a new work experience programme with Stoke-on-Trent Sixth form College.
VCCP Stoke will act as an academy for young people who aspire to work in the creative industries sector, helping them take their first steps onto the career ladder via apprenticeships and various training programmes.
It will also work with Staffordshire University to attract students to paid summer internships based at the former bank.
The agency hopes to engage with more than 500 young people in the coming year.
Chief strategy officer Michael Lee, said: “We’ve been concerned for some time about the increasingly narrow talent pool that we’re able to attract into an industry that we’re incredibly proud to belong to.
“Great creativity has always relied on being able to draw on a diverse group of people. Right now, because of the increasing socio-economic barriers to entry, we’re in danger of becoming quite a monocultural profession.
“We wanted to find a way to remove barriers for people to enter the industry. But it was clear that even if we could solve the awareness problem, cost was still a massive obstacle for the vast majority who don’t live in London and don’t have access to financial support from their families to be able to start on entry-level wages.
“The easiest way to solve both problems for all the prodigiously talented young people in Stoke-on-Trent – who could and should be working in our industry – was to set up a local base.”
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Executive creative director Jim Thornton added: “This isn’t just about finding talent, but also about retaining it.
“Just like many industries based in London, we’re seeing more and more of our people choosing to move out of the South East due to the cost of living – and Covid has accelerated this.
“We really hope that VCCP Stoke is successful, because we’d like to roll it out to other cities, giving talented people greater choice about where they live and work.
“And we’d love to attract other creative industry businesses to Stoke-on-Trent.”