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Connect with the IPA network and give your career a boost

Connect with the IPA network and give your career a boost
IPA Director of Professional Development Patrick Mills explains why our One2One mentoring network can propel your career forward fast

After five lean years it looks as though the economy is rosy again. Which is excellent news for career growth and job prospects.

However it is interesting to cast one’s mind back five years and then think about the scale of change in the advertising industry during the recession. It has been staggering and well documented.

New entrants and seasoned professionals now have more to think about and deal with every day. More for less is a constant refrain, be it budgetary or time.

We have to be armed with more skills than ever before – media channel proliferation alone means we have to be social media experts, coders, digital media gurus and search specialists.

But can we cope?

The quick answer is yes, of course we can. Agencies have responded to change with great gusto for years, if we don’t know the answer immediately we always find someone who can.

But perhaps with collapsed timelines and short term goals becoming the norm agency professionals need some support.

Agencies who are members of the IPA benefit from participation in the Continuous Professional Development programme which provides a platform for the creation of a learning culture. Evidence from annual submissions shows an enormous variety of learning interventions available to staff, which all have a measurable impact on business success.

As part of CPD the IPA offers courses and qualifications which enable around 3,000 + practitioners a year to grow their careers, develop their knowledge base and change behaviours and do their jobs better. However, formal training is not for everyone.

One of the great strengths of the IPA is how it enables practitioners to share knowledge with one another, it has been a guiding principle of the education programmes for over 40 years. Agency staff simply love giving back to the industry.

So we decided to create something that makes available the skills and abilities of senior IPA member agency practitioners to people lower down the career ladder – we wanted the spirit of sharing to become more widely available to staff in our member agencies.

As a result One2One was born.

It is a new type of mentoring programme. Its aim is to connect agency practitioners to resolve simple questions and career or job issues. It exists online and participants are encouraged to conduct their relationships online or by phone. The focus is on one thing and the relationship is designed to be short and sharp.

So far we have recruited 97 senior agency staffers from creative to finance, account management to media planning, technologists to UX specialists and everything in between. We have had 85 agencies with mentees who have accessed the scheme and we have managed 145 successful relationships in total.

However we are only at the beginning of the story, we know there is a wealth of knowledge out there itching to be shared, so if being a mentor appeals give us a ring. You’ll get three hours of free training to guide you in your mentoring. Then signing up couldn’t be simpler, you fill out an online questionnaire then Bob’s your uncle.

If you have a burning issue and you can’t solve it at work, get online fill out the questionnaire and identify what’s troubling you and we’ll link you up with a suitable mentor. It really is that easy.

But don’t take our word for it, this is what individuals have got out of the programme already:

“Absolutely invaluable to have an expert, impartial industry insider who understands the challenges but can be spoken with more frankly than anyone internally. I have highly valued this programme and want to thank the IPA for setting it up!"

“Excellent in providing me not only with his own experience and insight, but on how I can apply myself in a way that I can offer better value to my clients. His perspective, which has stemmed from his years of experience how he applies himself, is something I would not necessarily have been privy to had if it wasn’t for the scheme.”

“Yes, we had a general catch-up about my career direction, which has subsequently got much more specific and has been really helpful. I’ve also asked for specific advice on a few different topics, and she’s been great.”

“It was interesting to learn about ways of dealing with clients and talking to someone outside of my company about jobs that I am managing.”

Patrick Mills is the IPA Director of Professional Development

Last updated 20/03/2014

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