The success of the AMASA Learnership Programme over the past three years can only be demonstrated by the successful integration of past and current students into the media industry.
The media industry is not for the faint of heart or even for those that believe that the industry is glamorous. While consumers may see and remember the creative aspect of an advert, it is up to the media personnel of the advertising fraternity to ensure that the correct people are exposed to the advert in any given medium.
In the role of education, the AMASA Learnership Programme (ALP) is designed, in conjunction with partner agencies and media owners, to invest in the sustained future and growth of young talent.
For the past three years SMG (Starcom MediaVest Group) has partnered with AMASA in laying down the fundamentals of the media education process that ultimately culminates in the full time employment of selected students.
According to Gordon Patterson, Group MD of SMG, the fact that agencies select an individual alongside AMASA results in a greater development, and ensures that the student not only has the ability and skills sought, but the right chemistry. The importance of chemistry is often undervalued.
“If we don’t invest in the future and the youth of this country, we are going to have a very mediocre industry. The older media stalwarts are not getting any younger. Young and talented individuals sometimes bring a fresh perspective to the table,” says Patterson. “They have grown up in the digital world, and what is sometimes still classed as ‘new media’ is not very new to them.
“Although the ALP is only two years old, AMASA is constantly looking at ways of improving the process. In my opinion, going forward, perhaps we need to move away from the one dimensional interview process of ‘read the CV followed by an interview’ and be more involved with the whole process, which will enable us to learn more about the person. All too often candidates project what they think you want to hear in an interview. Our industry consumes you, if the chemistry is not right; you are doing yourself a disservice by signing up to be part of the family.”
Through the ALP programme, students very quickly get an overall real world view of the media industry.
In 2009 Prince Ndlovo joined the ALP programme with SMG, after studying marketing at the University of Johannesburg. “The opportunity was extended to me to enrol at the AAA School of Advertising for a media studies course, which helped me develop my skills from an analyst to a junior strategist. I then joined the Starcom MediaVest Group,” says Ndlovo.
“Through this opportunity I’ve gained experience as a junior strategist and work on some of the biggest brands in the country, such as Avon, Nestlé, Renault and BlackBerry. Joining this global company also provided me with the opportunity to network with some of the best strategists and leaders in the world, who are constantly encouraging and challenging me to ‘think outside the box’, to produce more, and become a great strategist. Without AMASA, this life changing opportunity would never have been possible.”
“Grab the opportunity with both hands,” exhorts Ndlovo of students entering the industry. “It provides you with the opportunity to enter into an industry that’s dynamic and always challenging the way you view media, products and advertising. You will have fun, sleepless nights and days where you will want to cry or quit, but at the end of the day, seeing your first campaign on TV, billboards or hearing it on radio brings joy and the satisfaction that ‘I made that happen’.”
Ndlovo is currently employed permanently as a channel strategist at MediaVest.