DDB and Callaghan Innovation launch creative development internship programme

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AUCKLAND, Thursday: DDB Group Aotearoa has announced seven new hires to join a creative development squad, selected via the agency’s new internship programme, Ride the Lightning.

With support from Callaghan Innovation, Ride the Lightning was designed to identify and nurture young creative talent, offering students the opportunity to gain practical experience and develop their skills in a real-world advertising environment.

Over 60 individuals applied for the internship programme, representing Whitecliffe College, Auckland University of Technology, and Media Design School.

After a competitive selection process, 10 students were selected to take part, and out of those 10, seven have been offered fulltime positions.

The 10-week internship provided the young talent with a comprehensive overview of the agency’s operations and creative processes across PR, brand, social, tech and data. Interns participated in seminars and workshops across the group, gaining valuable insights into the agency’s work.

They also had the opportunity to work on live client briefs, research projects, and develop proactive ideas using emerging technology.

The seven new hires, David John Gillard-Allen, Benjamin Coombes, Anja Pienaar, Phoebe Erin Grace Rooney, Herman Ulberg, Kara Gouws and Robert George Laking, will be paired with a DDB creative director and receive all the training and guidance required to thrive in a modern creative department.

Kate Humphries, programme director at the Media Design School, said: “We’re ridiculously proud to see our students recognised for their talent and hard work.

“The new hires have already begun supporting projects for the agency’s clients, which include some of the country’s most prominent brands.”

“Six students from our 2022 class participated in the Ride the Lightning programme and were all newbies together within DDB’s creative department.

“The segue from tertiary education to a creative department can be demanding but all six have been offered full-time positions to jump start their careers and have benefited hugely from being fully immersed in the fast-paced world of advertising.”

Anja Pienaar, an intern who is now a part of the creative development squad, said: “I’ve been super grateful for the opportunity to learn from some of the most innovative minds in the industry.

“Working on projects for great clients has challenged me to think outside the box and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me as I continue to develop my skills as part of DDB’s inspiring and dynamic team.”

DDB has plans to continue running the Ride the Lightning programme each year following on from this year’s success, where the top creatives will be invited to join the development squad.

Matty Burton, Group Aotearoa’s group chief creative officer, said: “The new creative development squad is not only an opportunity for DDB to utilise their wealth of resources to foster and influence young talent, but also a chance to establish a fresh-eyed squad that will be instrumental in driving innovation and creativity within the agency.

“This programme is the perfect chance for us to give all incoming interns the training and development we wish we had when we entered the industry.

“We’re looking forward to the next intake of interns in the program, and while we won’t always be able to hire seven, we trust the experience of the programme will mean they’re prepped and ready to join a creative department.”

“The new hires have already begun supporting on some great work on projects for the agency’s clients, which include some of the country’s most prominent brands.”

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