D&AD: IPA to broaden scope of foundation course

IPA chiefs are looking to extend the scope of their newly introduced foundation course aimed at giving newcomers to advertising a basic knowledge of the industry.

More than 280 people sat the two-hour exam for the IPA Foundation Certificate in February. The figure has delighted the trade body, which is looking at ways of how its initiative can be improved when study for next year's exam begins in September.

"The idea isn't to make the course tougher but more expansive," Stephen Woodford, the IPA's president, said. "Candidates currently spend between 15 and 20 hours preparing for the exam. We think we could push that a bit further and make the learning a bit more detailed."

The IPA introduced the certificate partly to answer outside criticism that the industry offers too few professional qualifications, but also to counter the problem of the growing fragmentation which prevents recruits from getting an overall picture of how various disciplines work together to build brands.

"If fewer than 50 people had enrolled for the course, we would have been deeply disappointed," Woodford added. "We'd have been delighted to get 100. The fact that we got as many as we did gives us a fantastic base on which to build. Now our challenge is to keep the course relevant and fresh."

September will also see the piloting of the IPA's Excellence Diploma course for agency staffers with between three and five years' experience and with the potential to become senior managers.

It will comprise six modules, involving a total of 120 hours' study.

At the end of it, candidates will write a thesis relevant to their discipline.

"The idea is to expose candidates to leading-edge thinking about brands and branding," Woodford said. "A lot of people will go through the business never knowing what those on this course will learn."


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