Ima-Home, Leith and Cowshed partner with Saatchi & Saatchi Upriser

The agencies have all signed up to support the free creative schools platform launched last year

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


Collaboration is a vital tool in driving diversity in the creative industries and one being utilised by Upriser, the free creative schools’ platform launched by Saatchi & Saatchi last year. 

In line with the initiative's ambition to expand beyond London and reach secondary school students in all corners of the UK, the partnerships will see the programme roll out in Wales, Scotland and the North of England for the first time. 

In the Yorkshire region, global marketing agency Ima-Home will be building a programme which focuses on creating meaningful opportunities such as apprenticeships and paid placements. 

The integrated agency has partnered with Brigshaw High School to open the doors of its fully integrated agency to pupils. They will get the opportunity to learn a range of creative skill sets spanning coding, operations, people and strategy. An experience designed to give them the understanding and expertise of a wide range of creative roles. 

In Cardiff, Cowshed has partnered with Willows High School, where a bespoke creative programme will kick off in September. While benefiting from its agency homes in both Edinburgh and Manchester, Leith is setting out to support local communities in both regions through its Upriser programme.

Leith is partnering with both the Leith Academy and The East Manchester Academy (TEMA). Leith will help students at TEMA understand what career opportunities exist within the creative services industries and help them realistically get there. 

The agencies follow the trail blazed by broadcaster ITV, which signed up as a founding partner of the Upriser programme in February. Initially partnering with Kensington Aldridge Academy, located within a mile of ITV’s new White City HQ.

We’re looking forward to learning from each other and becoming a true collective to ensure the power of creativity is hardwired into education and unlocking the next generation of creators, makers and fixers.

Sarah Jenkins, Managing Director of Saatchi & Saatchi

Upriser was founded by Saatchi & Saatchi in 2022 in response to what the agency describes as a ‘creative crisis’: a sustained lack of funding for creative and cultural programmes in schools. A lack of investment which equates to just £9.40 a year per student and that is on track to deal a devastating blow to the UK’s creative output due to a lack of future talent coming into the industry.

Designed to inspire with the power of creativity, Upriser offers young people aged 11-18 a real, tangible introduction and route into the creative industries. To help inspire more talent across the UK, Upriser is inviting any British creative company that wants to facilitate meaningful change to enrol as a school partner. 

Partners who sign up are matched with schools local to them and work closely with Upriser and Saatchi & Saatchi to implement a long term, meaningful programme within that school. Each programme is tailored to each company’s specialisms, skills and capabilities.

Partner businesses and schools are also given access to a 70-page open-source playbook, which offers a sustainable blueprint of everything from mentoring programmes to lesson plans, workplace visits and other creative initiatives. The playbook is informed by Saatchi & Saatchi’s three year partnership with Harris Academy Greenwich.

Alexandra Uprichard, Managing Director of Ima-Home, explained: “We are delighted to have been matched with Brigshaw High School. We will support the school in enriching the curriculum, inspiring pupils as to what future careers in advertising could look like and helping them with the real-world skills to make those opportunities a reality. We see this as a long-term partnership and our ultimate goal is to play a pivotal role in bringing a more diverse set of skills and experiences to the whole industry in the region.” 

Sarah Jenkins, Managing Director of Saatchi & Saatchi, adds, “With an eye-watering £120bn contribution to the nation’s GDP our creative industries are truly exceptional. However it’s a busted flush without a pipeline of young talent. Which is why we are so excited that the Upriser platform has gone national,  powered up by brilliant agencies in Wales, Scotland and the North of England. Alongside ITV, our founding partner, we’re looking forward to learning from each other and becoming a true collective to ensure the power of creativity is hardwired into education and unlocking the next generation of creators, makers and fixers.”

A powerful example of how collaboration can drive sustainable and scalable change.

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