If industry can avert a talent crisis, we know who to thank
A view from Simeon Adams

If industry can avert a talent crisis, we know who to thank

With the golden anniversary of the Media Business Course a year away, it is gratifying to see it in such rude health.

To state the bleeding obvious, we’re in the grip of a punishing recession. Recruitment, headcount and staff training are often the first ports of cull for agencies in turbulent times. How reassuring, then, to see the business learning from past mistakes and not cost-cutting in areas that leave scars further down the line.

While industry-wide graduate intake looks like being flat this year, we see agencies innovating in their approach to recruitment (check out Beattie McGuinness Bungay’s embracing of the digital age and removal of the "gr" from their "grad scheme"). We also seem to be witnessing a welcome refocus on training and development.

As a small but rapidly growing business, Goodstuff is fortunate to be able to craft personalised training and development for our junior recruits. They also benefit from sitting on the same desk as the agency partners. Other agencies don’t have this luxury. Fortunately for them, there is the Media Business Course (which took place in Brighton last week).

The Green Cross Code Man taught me, personally, to Stop! Look! and Listen! And I’ve never been run over since

For those unaware, it is an intensive three-and-a-half-day course where candidates are given a real client brief and are then pitched to by media owners who make the case for their medium being on the plan. Candidates then work through the nights to crack a live brief, before pitching to judges and, if they’re lucky enough to get shortlisted, pitching to the client and 120 peers.

Steve Hatch eloquently described it as the industry’s best gymnasium for the mind and correctly identified it as the only course that puts the craft of strategy, media planning and pitching on a pedestal. It’s intense and cruel but brilliant and uplifting; an unparalleled opportunity for exposure at an early career stage to brains such as Rory Sutherland, Jeremy Bullmore and Sir John Hegarty.

I remember when I was at school, Dave Prowse did a personal appearance. The Green Cross Code Man taught me, personally, to Stop! Look! and Listen! I was so awestruck, I was determined not to let the big guy down – even after he sold out to Lucasfilm. And you know what? I’ve never been run over since. I can only imagine Sutherland and co will have the same inspirational and lasting impact on the Media Business Course attendees this year; learning and experience that will stay with them throughout their careers.

So, hurrah for Rosemary Michael who administrates the course, the Advertising Association and the many agencies and media owners that support it with speakers, tutors and delegates; a commitment to the right thing at the right time.

It may be deemed expensive but, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. Just ask George Lucas (no offence, Dave).

Simeon Adams is a partner at Goodstuff