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IPA Foundation Certificate hits the Middle East

The IPA's CPD manager, Jon Stocks, discusses his recent trip to Dubai, where BBDO employees sat the Foundation Certificate exam for the first time.


It was about a year ago when I first discussed with Colin Farmer (General Manager and Talent Director, BBDO MENA) the idea of bringing the Foundation Certificate over to the Middle East for their up and coming stars.

An established course in the UK for graduates and new entrants into the business, there are now nearly 6000 agency employees with the Foundation Certificate qualification to their name, and in the last two years the learning has also spread across the continent in conjunction with the EACA (European Advertising Certificate).

Now, for the first time, employees from the Middle East and Asia are also benefitting. Earlier in the year, 22 JWT MENA employees sat the examination, and I was delighted to be invited by BBDO to Dubai to oversee their examination and meet their flourishing talent in the region.

Dubai is the most expensive city in the Middle East, and the 22nd most expensive in the world. It has grown into one of the most progressive and modern cities globally. Despite being hit by the worldwide economic meltdown, it has become a centre of finance, tourism and trade. Where else would you find the world’s tallest building, an indoor ski slope and an underwater zoo?!

So on the day I attended, over 40 employees from Abu Dhabi, Algiers, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait and Riyadh were brought together for an inspirational day of learning and collaboration, which culminated in them sitting the exam. There was no doubt that this was an important day for BBDO in Dubai.

Dani Richa, Chairman, BBDO MENA and Pakistan began the morning session by addressing the audience, the agency leaders of the future, on the culture and values of the agency, with career development very much at the heart.

I was next up to present about the IPA and the context and importance of the Foundation Certificate. IPA qualifications are unique; they are written by senior agency practitioners who run agencies and departments, this enables the content to be as relevant, appropriate and as engaging as possible and is the cornerstone in the success of IPA online learning.

Employees were then challenged with a workshop on Transmedia Storytelling and asked to work in teams to answer a brief. Their presentations were compelling, their ideas creative and their insight astute. The energy and enthusiasm in the room was inspiring, and the benefit of bringing individuals together that hadn’t met before, but may be sharing the boardroom table in a few years’ time, was clearly evident. It served as a good reminder of the importance of fostering a strong agency culture.

In a region where the thirst for learning is high but the access and opportunity seemingly quite low, the IPA was delighted to be able to offer up this award winning qualification. Speaking to the candidates afterwards, they were thrilled to have the opportunity and found the experience very rewarding and enjoyable.

And it’s not just the Middle East. On June 24th 2013, BBDO Asia employees will sit their exam across Hong Kong, Taiwan, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and Japan.

Last updated 06/06/2013

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