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Training and Education

By The Drum | Administrator

March 30, 2005 | 9 min read

“For any one marketing vacancy, there can be as many as 150 applicants.” Telling Adline this rather distressing nugget of information is Charles Nixon, founder of Cambridge Marketing College. His statement refers to a piece of research he came across in The Times. “Of the 150, most will have a degree, whether it be in marketing or a completely unrelated subject. What this means is that having specialist knowledge, thanks to an industry-recognised qualification, is invaluable for getting ahead of others going for the same vacancies.”

It is not just the job market that is spurring a need for ongoing development either. Internal promotions, personal development and a changing market place means that people who are already in the industry are looking to gain qualifications and training that can help them maximise both their potential and career prospects.

Institutions such as the IPR, CIM, IPA, ISP and IDM have been working hard to create and develop training and education courses that provide invaluable experience and knowledge that, unlike many degree courses, will actually be put into practice in a working environment. While limited space restricts Adline from exploring the full breadth of the courses, programmes and memberships that these organisations have to offer, this guide should provide insight into the training and education opportunities that are available.

Institute of Direct Marketing

The IDM provides a thorough offering to its sector, with certificate and diploma qualifications. The IDM Certificate can be achieved in direct marketing, CRM, or e-marketing, and can be studied in a variety of different ways, while the IDM Diploma in direct marketing is widely regarded as the highest standard of qualification by industry practitioners. The IDM also offers both agency and client companies an opportunity to have practitioners come in-house to teach a tailored programme to a group of staff.

Claire Thackary, digital project manager at Brahm, in Leeds, is a graduate of the IDM Diploma. She said: “It was a personal decision. I wanted to have a recognised industry qualification that allowed me to learn, to progress and that was a challenge.”

Thackary finished top of her class on the course, which was taught at Leeds University, earning her a £1,000 cash prize. She continued: “It was definitely worthwhile and I would definitely recommend the course to others. Nowadays, it’s a very competitive market with vast amounts of people applying for jobs, and so having specialist knowledge is a great attribute to posses.”

Chartered Institute of Public Relations

The CIPR owns two recognised qualifications (CIPR Advanced Certificate and CIPR Diploma). The organisation also approves of a number of first degrees, postgraduate diplomas and masters degrees. The Advanced Certificate is targeted towards graduates wanting to work in PR and is the prerequisite for taking the CIPR Diploma. The aim of the Diploma is to set the benchmark for the industry.

The CIPR also has several regional outposts, each operating various training programmes, networking opportunities and social events. Lis Anderson of BCLO PR is chair of CIPR West, which runs a training programme called Talking Heads. She said: “CIPR trainers come to the region to run full- and half-day courses for PR practitioners in this area.”

The regional camps also share information with each other, as Anderson explained: “Because of the geographical split, there may be an event in one region, which people in another region can easily get to and would like to attend, so we’ll often publicise the event.”

Institute of Sales Promotion

The ISP offers three types of qualification, all of which are taught through distance learning. The ISP Diploma is regarded as the highest form of qualification for people working in a promotional marketing role to take. It purports to offer an in-depth introduction into all aspects of the industry. Most people who take these courses work for agencies or promoters. The ISP Certificate, however, goes into less detail, but is ideal for people wanting to gain an appreciation of the industry. The third type of qualification provided by the ISP is the Motivational Diploma, which launches this month.

Chris Bestley, education consultant at ISP, said: “Our courses are the only ones to cater for people working in promotions marketing. It tends to be agencies sending their staff on our courses, rather than individuals. Any agency that offers a significant promotions marketing offering, along with specialist agencies in this sector, are likely to sign staff up on one of our courses.

“We have about 190 candidates on the Diploma each year and a further 50 on the Certificate course.”

Chartered Institute of Marketing

“The Chartered Institute of Marketing has a portfolio of qualifications for people at every level of marketing,” commented Emma Barker, head of educational networks for CIM. The lowest level of qualification, as far as CIM is concerned, is the Introductory Certificate in Marketing – available to anyone over the age of 17. Other qualifications offered by CIM include the Professional Certificate in marketing and the Professional Diploma in marketing. The highest course, however, is the Professional Postgraduate Diploma in marketing. Barker said: “We have spoken with many employers about the tasks and skills they require from potential employees and have structured our courses accordingly. Therefore, these really are qualifications that will help in getting a job.”

Sam Hemmings, account executive at TDA in Cheltenham took the CIM Postgraduate Diploma in marketing course. She said: “It has a modular approach, which makes it really flexible. You can either attend lectures or work remotely and you can complete all the modules consecutively or spread them out over a period of time. I would say the modules I’ve completed so far have given me greater insight than I would have had otherwise at this stage in my career.”

Institution of Practitioners of Advertising

Members of the IPA have the opportunity to gain one of two qualifications, the first of which being the Foundation Certificate. After the Foundation, and having accumulated two or three years’ experience, advertising practitioners are able to partake in the new IPA Diploma course, which launched this year. Plans are also afoot to launch an MBA type course for senior managers in advertising.

That is not the end of the organisation’s training offering though. Its commitment to ongoing training through a Continual Professional Development programme means that the IPA offers courses in a wide range of areas, including a seven-stage course that featured campaign planning, advertising and business effectiveness and understanding your client’s business, plus a creative services course and a training workshop programme.

Whether you are a newcomer looking to land that first job in the industry, a practitioner wanting to enhance your career prospects or an employer that needs to train up your staff, the marketing industry is jam-packed with training courses and programmes that have been, and continue to be, honed for your requirements.

David Burrows, Planner at TDA, comments on the IDM Diploma

“Although I’ve never used ‘Dip DM’ after my name, taking the IDM Diploma in the early stages of my career stimulated me and helped develop a depth and breadth to my understanding of the industry.

“The highlight of the course was the visiting speakers – these were industry practitioners who would talk about their own businesses and experiences. They were full of enthusiasm, and their practical knowledge was invaluable to us green direct marketers.

“Developing practical skills was a core part of the Diploma, and the project where we were given a brief and worked as a team to prepare a pitch was really constructive. We each took a role such as managing director or creative director and ‘pitched’ to figureheads from the industry, such as Iain Wright. This was instrumental in developing real skills that we could put to practice in the workplace.

“Perhaps the least relevant aspect of the course was the final exam – it wasn’t an academic qualification, and it would have been better to assess our practical skills.

“In retrospect, 15 years on, I believe that spending one evening a week going back to college served me well and I’d encourage anyone starting out in the industry to consider doing the same.”

Peter Craven, Joint Managing Director, Madhouse

Craven completed the CIM Diploma 15 years ago. He explained why he decided to study for it: “At the time I was working in sales for a pharmaceutical company but I always wanted to work in marketing. I studied for the Diploma two nights a week for a year. The CIM qualification is seen as the benchmark in the industry, and for me it was a way to demonstrate to employers how serious I was about wanting to move into marketing. It worked because I ended up getting moved into the marketing department.

“Obviously things have changed in 15 years but I still think that industry qualifications can be valuable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they demonstrate that a potential employee is keen and ambitious and, secondly, they tend to be more practical, incorporating actual business case studies, whereas degrees can be largely theoretical. Also, for those with a non-marketing degree it often gets them a foot in the door. We happily support those at Madhouse who want to undertake any training, whether it’s financial qualifications for the accountants or marketing and advertising courses for account managers. At the end of the day good training is a wise investment for all concerned.”


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