CAMPAIGN FOR BEGINNERS: PERSPECTIVE - Arm yourself with inside knowledge if you want a way into the ad industry

Welcome to the launch issue of Campaign for Beginners, a joint venture between two bastions of advertising, Campaign and D&AD. This annual publication is for advertising students, graduates, recruiters, educators and agencies - in other words, anyone who wants to work in a creative department and the people who help them get there.

Those of you revving up to apply for advertising courses for 2004 have a lot on your plate. First, you will be aware that the industry faces its worst slump in decades: 2001 was a truly brutal year and 2002 was just as testing, but the good news is that 2003 looks to offer slight relief, and 2004 some cheer.

Then there's the matter of what to study and where. There are almost 130 courses to choose from and acres of information on the institutions providing advertising education (we trust the guide on p17 will be a helpful starting point).

Finally, there's the small matter of your degree to complete and the realisation that education is making the news more regularly than ever before. Whether it's the Conservatives' promise to scrap tuition fees and make higher education a key weapon in their armoury for the next election, or the Government's plans to introduce top-up fees, education remains a hot issue.

We hope you will find helpful thoughts, insights and hard information about advertising in these pages. But where to start? Perhaps with Campaign's peerless columnist, Jeremy Bullmore, who offers advice on typical student problems (p5). Or perhaps you'll go straight to "If I could tell you only one thing" (p20) where industry luminaries from John Hegarty to Anthony Simonds-Gooding reveal what they would like to have known when they were starting out. Or maybe you'll relish reading "Ladies who Punch" (p26) in which two outstanding female creatives offer their perspective on one of the biggest conundrums facing the industry - the paucity of women in creative departments. And, after all that serious stuff, you'll relish a treat of a read from JWT's John Donnelly, who delves into the archives to report on 60 less-than-glorious years of films about advertising (p22).

A principal debt of gratitude must go to the remarkable D&AD and in particular its former chief executive, David Kester, and its education director, Claire Fennelow. Without their advice and enthusiasm - and, indeed, without D&AD's extensive contacts with students and educators, which have enabled us to distribute this publication to thousands of people beyond our usual weekly readership - Campaign for Beginners would never have happened.