Career development

There is a development path for everyone.

The advertising industry prides itself on being able to take someone of the right character and potential, who has no relevant qualifications, educate them quickly and continue to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours throughout their career.

We have had a very robust Continuous Professional Development Standard since 1999:

  • A plan linking training to business objectives.
  • An induction programme for all new joiners.
  • A thorough appraisal system, at least one chance a year to discuss your career, although many agencies now have regular feedback sessions.
  • 24 hours (or pro rata) of development activity completed per person per year.
  • 15% of staff must hold a mandatory qualification: LegRegs Certificate, Commercial Essentials Certificate, and/or Effectiveness Essentials Certificate.

Its robustness is validated via:

  • CPD records for every person
  • CPD Review visits
  • CPD Gold Accreditation

And our professionalism is recognised via our Royal Charter.

IPA courses and qualifications for every level of your career

    Starting your career

    In your first year you will probably all take The Foundation Certificate.

    More than 17,000 people in over 70 countries have launched their careers by taking the IPA Foundation Certificate and putting the world’s number one professional advertising qualification on their CV.

    You will:

    • Gain an essential overview of all areas of advertising.
    • Understand consumers, their motivations and how to influence purchasing decisions through the science of choice.
    • Learn how to write strategies that sell, the roles of different media, how to use data and how to measure the success of your work.
    • Earn the confidence to perform your role with expertise.

    View the full Foundation Certificate syllabus of 30 hours of learning and a two-hour exam.

    If you are an apprentice you will receive a thorough training programme aligned to that where at least 20% of your time is spent learning off the job. 

    If you are a graduate there will probably be a special learning programme for you which may involve rotating through different departments. 

    There are also many ways to learn more about things you value such as Diversity and Inclusion (e.g. Diversity & Inclusion Essentials) and Sustainability (e.g. AdNetZero Essentials) both through the IPA and bodies such as The Advertising Association.

    Everyone will benefit from mentoring – both via the IPA (60 Minute Mentoring), other IPA programmes and via specific schemes externally.  

    The first years of your career

    In your first few years, you will probably take qualifications and courses specific to your role e.g.

    Account Management – Commercial Essentials, Account Handling Essentials, People Management Essentials

    Account Planning/Strategists: Effectiveness Essentials

    Production: LegRegs Essentials, Production Lite Essentials Course

    Media Planner: Media Research Essentials, Digital Performance Essentials Certificate

    At mid-senior level

    At mid-senior level there is still so much to learn:

    Producers:  Production Essentials Certificate

    Media: Advanced Certificate in Communications Planning

    Planners: Advanced Certificate in Effectiveness, Excellence Diploma in Brands

    Account Management: LSE in Business 

    At senior level

    But we believe in lifelong learning and so there are knowledge and skills which need to be available to senior employees:

    Courses and quals for the board, department heads, the C suite: EffWorks Global, Excellence in Leadership Course, Business Growth Conference.

    Other training providers

    All these examples are just a selection of what is available via the IPA, there are many excellent providers with whom your agency will work, for example:

    • NABs – particularly good for resilience and stress-busting information and courses; plus Fast Forward, a ‘pitch’ course for all disciplines around 18 months; and mentoring for many targeted groups.
    • D&AD - Global Association for Advertising and Design – all things creative related.
    • The APG – for planners and strategists.
    • The Advertising Association – the Media Business Course and many sustainability education tools.
    Last updated 01 May 2024