Clockwork's youth mentorship programme, GrowthLab, celebrates its second birthday during Youth Month. GrowthLab is the advertising agency's junior leadership programme, actively supporting the workplace journeys of younger staff members and guiding them towards career success.
Addressing the needs of young professionals in a changing landscape
Clockwork's Growthlab includes over 40 junior staff members in their first or second jobs. Participants select mentors from the company's executive committee, who provide guidance, engage in one-on-one skills development sessions, and play a vital role in their growth. Mentees also benefit from group sessions where they collectively tackle various industry-related themes and challenges.
GrowthLab started in 2021, a year after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that redefined working culture. The company recognised that junior staff members needed to make the most of the natural learning and growth opportunities within a traditional office environment and created the platform to encourage connection and explore ways to learn and grow together.
Fostering a culture of authentic leadership
GrowthLab was motivated and conceptualised by co-CEO Nic Simmonds as an extension of his passionate and authentic leadership philosophy. Diverging from the faceless corporate stereotype, the programme aims to bridge the gap between junior staff and upper management, a common problem in larger agencies. Opportunities for interaction between junior and senior staff foster learning, growth, and confidence. Through the GrowthLab initiative, Simmonds witnessed the transformation of young staff into exceptional Clockwork team members. He finds their hunger for knowledge and desire to grow inspiring.
Simmonds emphasises the significance of leadership and nurturing younger team members, "Leadership is not just about titles or seniority; it's about creating a culture where everyone feels valued and supported. At Clockwork, we believe in looking after our younger staff, empowering them to grow and thrive. By investing in their development, we unlock their potential and foster a sense of purpose. Guiding and mentoring them isn't just a responsibility; it's an opportunity to shape the future leaders of our industry."
Investing in future leaders: Skills development for all
Through quarterly themes chosen by the members in brainstorming workshops, the programme addresses broader skills in management, leadership, and personal growth that are sometimes overlooked amidst the daily agency routine. These general skills extend beyond the marketing industry and can be applied throughout their lives. Themes such as increased productivity, creative leadership, defining career moments, and many others offer participants the opportunity to curate a versatile skill set for their future careers.
Dani van der Horst, a copywriter at Clockwork and active member of GrowthLab, shared her enthusiasm for the programme and her future growth: "Being part of GrowthLab has been a game-changer for me. I've learned I'm not just a number or a job title. It's about bringing integrity to my work and making a real difference, no matter where I am in the hierarchy. What I love most about GrowthLab is the incredible environment it creates. It proves that we can bloom at any stage of our careers with the right support."
Clockwork is a full-service, independent agency with branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and the UK.
Clockwork’s clients include Microsoft, Standard Bank, LG, Meta and Canon
Clockwork employs approximately 150 staff members and is a BEE Level 1 company.