Free training aims to help women over 45 enter the ad industry

UK-based Brixton Finishing School, a training program and talent agency, has teamed up with WPP and The Uninvisibility Project to launch VisibleStart — a free training program aimed at helping midlife women find work in advertising.

The course combines eight weeks of online learning with live events, and will focus on digital media skills like programmatic ad buying, SEO and paid social. Women over 45 from all walks of life are invited to enroll — no previous experience needed — and WPP and its media agency MediaCom have pledged to hire 20 women who have completed the course. VisibleStart is launching in London, with a nationwide rollout planned for 2022.

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Most companies realize the need to build a diverse workforce — even if they're slow to walk the talk — but ageism is often overlooked in DE&I efforts. Meanwhile, ageism affects women more than men: older women face marginalization based on gendered youthful beauty standards in addition to unfounded societal biases that older employees are less innovative, adaptive, and generally less qualified (check out Catalyst's brief for more stats and insights on gendered ageism).

The effects of ageism and time spent outside the paid labor market can be devastating. As The Uninvisibility Project's founder Jane Evans explains: “There is an epidemic of joblessness for women over 50, and almost half of women in this age bracket have no retirement savings at all. If we dont act now, half a generation will retire in poverty.”

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