Growth Industry - A touch of class

By The Drum, Administrator

October 11, 2007 | 8 min read

But what industry-fronted training courses are currently on offer?

The Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP) is the trade organisation focussed on the promotion, protection and progression of sales promotion. The Drum spoke to director of education, Chris Bestley, about the courses and seminars available through the ISP, which includes the ISP Diploma and Certificate.

The ISP prides itself on its status as the only UK provider of specialised sales promotion training. “If you’re doing sales promotion,” says Bestley, “and you need training on it, you need to come to us.”

The diploma is aimed at junior account handlers, who make up around 80 to 90 percent of the course. 160 people enrolled this year alone, 20 from Australia, taking advantage of the distance-learning programme on offer. The course is open to anyone and based around 18 in-depth questions in a set brief, with students working over a four month period.

The study notes are poured over by top names in the industry in order to keep them as relevant as possible. The certificate course, the diploma’s “little sister,” is more service-oriented and runs over two seminars, again based in London.

Out with the capital, the ISP offers a specially tailored in-house service on demand, where a more specialised solution is on offer. Bestley comments: “We’ll discuss what they need and if agencies have enough people to warrant a stand-alone session we’ll do it, but it tends to be more seminar and workshop based.”

As to the benefits of these courses, Bestley says he hoped the course would instil confidence in the participants and their employers. “Most of the people are in their twenties, they’re at the most pressure-filled point of their careers. The courses are about working on their own and having confidence in their own abilities.”

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) aims to raise the standards of direct marketing in the UK whilst protecting the consumer against unscrupulous practices and shaping the future of the industry.

The training on offer at the DMA consists largely of single day seminar-based programmes, with a comprehensive annual schedule of over 70 events across the country, in key regional cities such as Bristol, Bath, Manchester and Cardiff, while holding social and networking events on a regular basis.

The DMAs Rachel Aldighieri says that the training on offer is much more events based but “coming from a training angle.”

“Our programme of events varies,” says Aldighieri. “We run legal seminars in conjunction with regional legal firms… and hold individual events that look at the different mediums, such as email marketing, mobile marketing and new media.”

Apart from the legal seminars – which are held on a regular basis with a mixture of old, hands wanting to refresh their memories, and new starts attending – there are no ‘regular’ seminars, rather an evolving calendar of events which continuously adapts and responds to the needs of the market.

“The legal and compliance lectures are pretty standard,” says Aldighieri, “but the others will vary depending as to what the needs are at that time. The mobile and new media-based developments are very popular at the moment.”

The training offering here is unashamedly practioner-led in approach as opposed to continuous assessment or month-long courses, hinting that the emphasis at DMA would appear to be the hands-on practical approach.

Aldighieri says: “In terms of what attendees get out of events in general, it’s about providing knowledge and inspiration that will enable them to take a proactive approach to new trends and developments.”

The Design Business Association (DBA) promotes professional excellence within the design industry, and sees the training of its membership base to a high standard as part of its mission statement.

One of the key courses on offer is the Presentations Skills one day workshop, open to everyone. Programme co-ordinator Jeremy Crow says that the course attracts a mixture of students and professionals alike.

“You can have creative directors, junior designers and managing directors working together who can all take something constructive away from it,” says Crow.

Also on offer is the Professional Practice course, which runs as stage one for junior staff and stage two for midlevel and senior staff, and aims to develop essential skills and a deeper understanding of the industry, where individual modules can be picked out depending on the participant’s level of expertise and interest.

Although the not-for-profit organisation has to centralise many courses to London in order to break even, if regional interest is there the DBA will mobilise and move to where the demand is. “If a company has five delegates they want up put through one of our courses, we’ll come to them, as we do offer an in-house service,” says Crow. “In that sense we’re quite reactive.”

Jeremy Crow also tells The Drum that the association would like to implement a standardised qualification or accreditation for members taking part in its courses.

He comments: “We’re looking at awarding a standardised ranking depending on which of these courses have been attended, so that organisations putting their staff through the courses know they are of a certain level of quality.”

The Manchester Publicity Association (MPA) aims to promote excellence in all aspects of advertising, PR, media and marketing in the region, supporting its membership through social forums, and a high level of education and training.

The Drum spoke with chairman of the MPA Education and Training Group, Ian Tinker, about the main courses on offer.

Each year, in September, one of the two central training courses will run, with around 35 delegates signing up for the Media Strategy workshop. Held over two and a half days, participants are shut away in a Cheshire hotel for a day of presentations from media owners. Delegates are assigned a team, a supervisor and work together on their briefs over the second day, presenting their final work on day three to a panel of judges, this year led by Sandra Tinker of News International, Giles Brooksbank of Feather Brooksbank, and Jill Thomas of MediaVest Manchester.

The organisation also runs a Creative Communications workshop in late February along the same lines, both courses attracting relatively junior delegates with anywhere between

two and four years experience.

Tinker says: “The delegates get to work in teams with different people from different disciplines. We make sure the brief has to use three or four media options so they get a range of experience.”

Each team goes head-to-head to win, adding a competitive element which Tinker believes to be highly effective, acting within a microcosmic model of an integrated agency.

The focus of the MPA courses appear to be in line with a more integrated philosophy, and Tinker hopes that the participants not only learn from the intensive workshopping experience, but also build lasting relationships with new people from varied disciplines.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) is the industry body and professional institute for leading advertising, media and marketing communications agencies in the UK.

One of the IPA’s key offerings is the Continuous Professional Development Accreditation scheme which manager Jill Fear explains centres round nurturing individuals so their employers would be better represented when dealing with clients and customers.

The CPD scheme is split into seven stages, ranging from graduate entrants right up to managing director level. The first graduate stage is centralised to London because of its intensity, but the rest are offered regionally with some syllabuses available online.

The CPD programme is designed for corporate entities, so it’s the agency that submits and achieves accreditation – such as the Investor in People award – rather than individuals. Fear explains that this is so the programme contributes to the business success of its members and secondly, in a sector where CPD is not mandatory to operate, and where time pressures are high, it provides an impetus for individual participation which would not otherwise exist.

In addition to this the IPA provides a comprehensive set of workshops, known as “energisers”, which it regularly takes on the road to the key centres outwith London.

Fear believes that the CPD benefits both individuals and their employers. She says: “For the individual it increases professionalism and the standard of work which, in turn, benefits the business because it’s better served by its employees.”


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