A new diversity scheme to get more school young adults into the creative world

This August Conran Design Group became the first design agency to collaborate with Camden Council for their amazing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) initiative to help encourage a more diverse pool of school children to consider the creative industry as a life-long career.

We understand the role design agencies must play in helping to grow and nurture the next generation of underrepresented creatives and we’re proud and excited to have been a part of a program that helps develop the skills of the local youth. Other local businesses involved this year include Ted Baker, Lendlease, Argent, and Heatherwick.

What did we do?

We welcomed a group of 14-17-year olds from Camden to our HKX studio, setting them a week-long challenge to crack a creative branding and packaging brief.  We wanted them to see what it would be like working at a design agency and gave them the opportunity to present their concepts at the end of the week. It was a tough brief, but we were amazed with the quality of their designs and thinking. They did an amazing job and showed real enthusiasm, creativity, and confidence when presenting to a senior panel, including Thom Newton, CEO. We are sure that HKX will be welcoming some of this talent in the next few years through our doors!

Thom says “Design has the power to unite, inspire and influence and the best design solutions are born from diverse perspectives, diverse outlooks and diverse experiences. The creative world as a whole is guilty largely of recruiting from a small pool of talent.  As a recognised name in the industry for over 70 years, we have not just a responsibility, but deep routed desire to encourage greater understanding of design as a career. We should all promote greater diversity and inclusion for all those pursuing this exciting career. Initiatives like this which shed a little light on what we do helps tremendously. We are delighted to be supporting this initiative and will continue to do all we can to support those who are interested in a career in the industry.”

What is STEAM?

The Camden STEAM Commission was established to:

  • Highlight Camden’s unique STEAM economy and the skills needed for the roles of the future
  • Encourage greater fusion in creative, digital and scientific education
  • Mobilise business resources to drive skills and careers education
  • Tackle underrepresentation and provide all Camden young people with access to the opportunities available locally.

Industry STATS:

The UK has 2 million creative industry jobs and is expanding faster than the rest of the economy (source: DCMS Economic Estimates July 2018).

Official statistics published by the UK government reveal that white males are dominating the creative industries, with women filling less than 40 per cent of jobs – although the gap is narrowing in architecture and design. 78% of the UK’s design workforce is male. 
This is also despite women making up 63% of all students studying creative arts and design courses at university. 

In 2016, BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) employees made up just 11 per cent of the 32,422 people working in the creative industries – an increase of 5.8 percent on 2015.


If you are interested to find out more about the program, please get in touch.
We are happy to share our experience with you and let you know more about the initiative.