I have spent quite some time in the last few months conducting training or organising training for people involved in advertising and marketing. And really enjoyed interacting with the participants.

It made me realise there is plenty of raw talent out there. There are many enthusiastic young people who want to grow in the industry. Some, of course, enter after attending general communications courses or graphics courses but there is little opportunity to expand their education once they start work. Unfortunately, advertising is less well-served than the marketing segment when it comes to further education. There are marketing institutions and professional bodies conducting classes and offering degrees in marketing. But advertising seems to be neglected. The Institute of Advertising Singapore did a great job for a number of years and then the courses fizzled out. We understand they are trying to recapture lost ground. The WDA in Singapore is encouraging firms to upgrade their staff by offering structured courses and subsidies and various training schools offer this training but not in the area of advertising.

I witness the growth of more student competitions which may give publicity to the organisers, the schools and the individual but I feel such events doesn’t really help improve the work or develop the students. I fear all it does is give the young people a taste for awards which many feel causes our current creative teams to lose sight of the objective of their work.

The AdAsia Academy is doing its part to provide education for people in the early stages of their career but ourfledgling department is hardly going to change the landscape. The Singapore Media Academy still has too much association with the film and entertainment business (it is owned by MediaCorp, one of the two Singapore media giants) although it is soon to start offering sales, media and marketing courses.

Meanwhile as our industry expands in size and in new areas created by the digital media, young executives are promoted beyond their experience and industry education.

Advertising agencies throughout the region should invest more in training their people either internally or through external training schools.