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Northern Network Boosts Next Gen’ Business

Pavan Riyat-Ward of We are The Allies

Leading Creatives Rally Round to form The Allies Academy.

The North’s first ever freelance creative network has stepped in to support the next generation of creatives by launching a specialist Academy, which will develop students’ individual brands, land live briefs and a series of work placements.

We are The Allies, was launched in April last year and hand-picked an exclusive list of outstanding creative freelancers from all creative disciplines including design, copywriting and photography, through to editors and illustrators.

Formed by industry experts Pavan Riyat-Ward, Creative Director husband Rick and their editor daughter Polly, the trio landed incredible briefs from clients and led the way with creative freelance work in the north. Despite the impact of Covid-19 taking a tumultuous turn on employment over the past three months, We are The Allies Managing Director, Pavan, has remained enthusiastic about emerging new talent. “We always had an ambition to support the future generation of creatives and originally wanted to launch the Allies Academy in 2021,” she says. “However, given the current climate, we realised that students graduating this year were entering into our industry at a time when not only are job prospects limited, but so are opportunities for placements. After running a webinar for students with Chicks In Advertising – who we sponsor, we very quickly realised that we needed to do something now to support students.


We joined forces with various Educational partners, including Leeds Arts University, to track down the best talent across their courses.”

After several interviews, The Academy is split into four creative teams of highly-talented students. Each are assigned a senior mentor from the Allies network, who will help develop branding and create stunning portfolios. Creative Director, Dave Lambert, is working with Art Director Richard Waite to mentor the Yorkshire Academy Allies. Dave explains: “They are entering the job market in such a tough economic climate, but young creatives must see this as an opportunity to shine to achieve the success they desire. After all, they are the future.”

Once the initial stages of development are complete, We are The Allies will then work with agency partners to land students work placements and live briefs to work on. Pavan adds: “Our ambition is that through this, they will find their first creative role in the industry. Alternatively, if they choose to freelance at the end of this, we will help them to do this too.”

Senior Lecturer Nick Young, from Leeds Arts University believes the Academy offers real opportunity. He says: “The Allies Academy is a fantastic scheme and a real opportunity for our creative advertising graduates. It gives them real world experience and a chance to learn from creative professionals. This will give them an edge as they enter the advertising world.”

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