The Key to Change: Work Placements

“Working for Wunderman Thompson demonstrated to me that I made the appropriate career choice for myself because no two days have been the same in my chosen career field”
Shab, 24

Bringing about Change

Care-experienced young people are one of the most vulnerable and overlooked groups in our society. Research has shown that educational attainment, levels of health and well-being and employment prospects are all significantly lower, whilst instances of homelessness or poor mental health are much higher. Despite youth unemployment rates having reduced, there is still an estimated 40% of young care-experienced people who are not in employment, education, or training.

Together with our partners, we are trying to change that by providing ring-fenced employment opportunities to enable these young people to move from care into a career of their own choice.

Partners are Key

This is why work placements run by our partners are key. These opportunities help upskill our care-experienced young people so they can be ready to tackle the world of work with confidence. Wunderman Thompson have been “wunderful” partners and have been running several one-month paid placements with us.

Wunderman Thompson (WT) are a global marketing agency working to grow brands using a mix of technology, data and creativity. They have also been a committed member of our partner network for several years; offering care-experienced young people insights into the world of marketing and advertising via Aim Higher Days and multiple work placements. Their staff is committed to making a difference, donating their time and skills to support care-experienced young people on their career journey.

"We all know how important it is to look further and wider for diverse talent, and someone’s past shouldn’t hinder their future."
Head of New Business at WT

In the latest round of work placements, Wunderman Thompson offered positions across their business including client services, data, creative, technology, operations teams and many more. Plenty for our young people to get stuck in! As a result, our young people have been able to explore different roles and find out which are best suited to their interests and aspirations, all under expert guidance and support!  


Marion had just entered her first year of university studying Maths, Statistics and Business. Like many young people her age, Marion was just starting to consider her career path and wanted guidance. Despite being in university, the future seemed daunting because Marion didn’t have the necessary knowledge and experience to decide on which career path would truly fit with her passions and talents. That’s when Marion found Drive Forward.

During her time with Drive Forward, Marion was paired with a dedicated Careers Advisor (CA) to help her figure out her personal career and life goals. Her CA worked closely with her, equipping her with the key skills and networks to enable her to confidently search for opportunities. Marion learned vital life skills, from being able to manage her time more efficiently, to knowing how to make herself stand out on a CV and acknowledging her own strengths and weaknesses.

So, when our partners at Wunderman Thompson were recruiting for a one-month placement in Data, Marion was ready and motivated to send over her application. Following another set of interviews, Marion finally got the email saying she was successful!

Being involved in projects...

“I enjoyed the flexible calendar, which allowed me to jump between tasks and get a taste of different projects, such as social listening, competitor social media audits, data collection, survey creation and client pitches. By being so involved in projects, I got to play around with data tools such as Netbase, YouGov, Quid and Cmix to develop my analytical skills in different ways for a range of clients.

My favourite project was the social listening I did with large finance companies because finance is where my interests lie. Being able to analyse the ESG (environment, society, governance) related factors for these companies has impacted my perspective. It has influenced what kind of corporations I would like to work with relative to their environmental and social responsibility values. This internship has definitely sparked a curiosity for me. 

I found that talking to different people on the team was a great way to answer my questions about the Data industry and to learn how they navigated their own career paths. By networking like this, I gained a lot of advice and wisdom based on their experiences. Overall it has been a real pleasure thanks to the wonderful people I’ve worked with, and it has increased my confidence in the direction I want my own career to take.”

"A huge, huge thank you again, it has been a great experience to be an intern with you all at WT."
Marion, 22


Before signing up with us, Shab was doing auditions and had some experience as a special needs teaching assistant. However, what Shab really wanted to do was to work in film production, including working on film sets. Since coming to Drive Forward, Shab has made use of our free counselling sessions to support her mental health. So when she saw the 1-month placement at Wunderman Thompson, not only was Shab in the right headspace for it but it was an amazing opportunity to gain experience in production - like she had always wanted!

“I haven't had a single day as a production intern at WT where I wasn't happy to be doing what I am doing. The employees at WT treated me like a member of their team and walked me through each activity I was learning.”

Key Learnings

“My skills, time management and general organisation have definitely improved as well as my ability to work well in a team. More specifically, I was able to work with different software and platforms including Excel. I also gained insight into a number of other departments such as post production, broadcasting, and attended creative agency showcases! There were lots of support and guidance given to me and I was always encouraged to ask questions.

My team members were always very accessible whenever I needed assistance or had a quick question. I appreciated the many opportunities that allowed me to feel like a valuable member of the team. I formed friendships with my coworkers received feedback from my senior managers and dealt with different deadlines.

The production team members were friendly, funny in their own way and most importantly, willing to share their knowledge with those who want to learn. I can safely say I have gained invaluable transferable skills, memories I will recall fondly, and have achieved my goal. I had taken this internship to figure out what I wanted to do in the future and I am so thankful for the internship opportunity. WT is an amazing company with hardworking, talented people.”

Care to Career

Since the internship, Marion has left with personal projects to work on such as to continue learning Python and also to expand her knowledge of Structural Query Language alongside her university studies. For Shab, her time with Wunderman Thompson solidified her career path and is now determined to become a producer. Shab is currently employed full-time at Wonderhood Studios!

*some details have been changed to protect privacy. 

Our work at Drive Forward

Drive Forward has been set up to enable care-experienced young people in London to achieve their full potential through sustainable and fulfilling employment. Since 2010, we’ve worked with over 100 businesses and employers, and supported over close to 3,000 young people into meaningful careers. One of the key aspects of our success is working with employment partners, committed to creating supportive, valuable and meaningful opportunities for our young people. Join Lloyds Bank, Superdrug, Baringa Partners, and American Express to share your expertise, resources and passion for changePartner with us and create work placements and jobs that benefit you and our care-experienced young people.

Create A Work Placement with Us!

Drive Forward is ready to help any employer open their doors to talented care-experienced young people and see how much change they can inspire for you!

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