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Training and digital central to agenda of new IPA Chairman for Scotland

Claire Wood, Planning Director at Newhaven Agency, delivered her inaugural address as IPA Chairman for Scotland today (7th May, 2013) at the Members’ reception, Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh. Wood, Scotland’s first female chairman, pledged to put training and digital technology at the heart of her agenda. She believes it is vital to increase training in order to attract and retain talent in Scotland. She also feels that Scottish agencies need to embrace and understand digital technology to make them more competitive.


 “The first step is easy. Practise what we preach. We can hardly lecture clients on how to talk to their audiences on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google + if we are not very familiar with it ourselves. In Scotland we are already thinking about it from an IPA standpoint. We have set up a Digital Forum with representatives across member agencies with a remit to evangelise about all things digital”.

Digital media accounts for more than 40,000 jobs in Scotland – making up 65% of its creative industry. In order to ensure Scotland’s ad industry is fully briefed on what is possible, a training programme of events hosted by Google, Facebook and Microsoft is being offered.

52% of people in the IT and digital industries are expecting to have to recruit new talent from outside Scotland. Graduates are looking elsewhere as they cannot see the opportunities.

In order to address this, Wood is following newly elected IPA President, Ian Priest’s example by setting up a Client Council. She says, “I would like our Client Council to look at how clients and agencies can get better at embracing digital technologies. We have invited representatives from some of the smartest clients in Scotland – The Scottish Government, Visit Scotland, Digital legend David Craik – to look at the skills gaps we have as an industry and how best we might address them”.

Attracting, nurturing and retaining talent in Scotland is the other goal on her agenda. For many years graduates have cut their teeth on the Scottish advertising industry, before being lured down to London – or Australia – to work with bigger budgets or under sunnier skies.

Says Wood, “We need to think about how we are structuring our agencies to make sure recruits are getting a career path that keeps them interested and training that allows them to further themselves”.

The IPA continues to offer a solid programme of training courses in Scotland, but Claire is looking to agencies to offer peer support and in-house training. She would like to set up regular account management breakfasts to give new recruits and experienced adlanders a forum for sharing thoughts and ideas.

She hopes that by the end of her two-year tenure, Scotland’s advertising industry is blazing a trail and preaching digital evangelism.


View full speech here.

 View photos here.

Watch Claire Wood make her inaugural address.

Claire Wood’s biography

Claire has been working at as Planning Director at Newhaven Agency in Edinburgh since July 2012, working with the Scottish Government, Tennent Caledonian Breweries and Scottish Water amongst others. Having worked as a planner in advertising agencies in Scotland for 16 years, including The Leith Agency and RAPP Edinburgh where she was Head of Planning, Claire has worked with a range of clients including A G Barr, The Herald newspaper, The Co-operative Group and the Scottish Government. Claire has won an IPA Effectiveness Award with The Leith Agency for a Scottish Government campaign tackling drug dealers, and Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards and Financial Services Forum Marketing Effectiveness papers. In 2011, Claire joined the IPA Scotland Group and was leader of the Social/Events Forum before being appointed Deputy Chairman in July 2012. As part of her Chairmanship, Claire will represent the views of IPA members in Scotland as ex-officio member on IPA Council.

Last updated 09/05/2013

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