Foundation Certificate – Online

30 hours of online learning + online exam (2 hours)

This training provides junior industry people, regardless of discipline, with the knowledge to perform their roles with confidence and expertise. Exclusive access for Members ONLY.

2024 Exam Date:  29 April | 24 June | 30 September | 25 November
Refer to qualification policies.


Written for the industry by the industry. The all new IPA Foundation Certificate is a definitive learning programme that takes you on a journey through the entire band process so you can hit the ground running. Whether you are a newcommer to the industry or a career switcher, the webinars, forums, expert opinion, videos and podcasts form a collective thread across all the modules, emphasising the link between creativity and business value.

What to expect

30 hours of interactive online learning, over 7 modules, designed with accessibility and variety in mind, further to this:

  • IPA app to access learning on the move
  • Quick Quizzes throughout to test the learner’s knowledge
  • Discussions to engage with other learners
  • Resources for additional recommended learning
  • Dedicated online tutor
  • Technical support
  • Formal offline exam
  • Case studies

Key benefits
• Gain an essential overview of all areas of advertising, no matter where you currently work.
• The impact of the industry specific and commercial landscape contexts on advertising.
• Get familiar with the key stakeholders and their roles in effective, creative communications solutions.
• Be aware of essential communications theories which will help your work; including understanding consumers, their motivations and how to influence decisions through the science of choice.
• Get confident in the fundamentals of media planning.
• Understand the link between creativity and business effectiveness. • Consider how we can all be creative in our roles.
• Earn the confidence to perform your role with confidence and expertise.

Who’s it for?

ENTRY LEVEL, 0-2 years experience
The qualification is aimed at anyone with less than a years’ experience in an advertising, marketing or communications role. From recent graduates in their first year, to people entering the industry from another profession.

Course Content

The online content has been split into seven learning paths, designed to provide an in-depth grounding in the brand communications process, from its position within marketing through to the final execution. Each learning path consists of a number of e-lessons, key readers, assignments, walk throughs, videos, discussions and quizzes.

Module 1: The business of creativity
Authored by Coral Cranmer, Associate Director – Strategy, McCann Leeds

The opening module is intended to remind us about the inspiring creative industry that we all work in – including references to its glorious past, dynamic present and exciting future. The module helps to outline and celebrate the role of creativity in both communications and the wider business community

It includes:

  • understanding Creativity and its commercial value
  • creativity in Advertising and how it works
  • creativity and brand marketing effectiveness
  • unlocking our own creativity
  • the future of effective creativity

Module 2: The context in which creative communications operates
Authored by Pia Kingan, Media Lead, Sky

This module looks at the context in which creative communication operates – specifically to our industry but also within the wider commercial context in which we all operate.

It includes:

  • the speed and rate of change of our industry
  • agency type and landscape
  • highlighting specific key industry issues, from talent retention to viewability to profitability
  • the impact of Covid on the workplace
  • responding to issues we all care about such as inclusivity and sustainability

Module 3: The key stakeholders and their role in delivering effective communication solutions
Authored by Tom Darlington, Head of Insight, PHD Worldwide

This module helps us understand the various stakeholder roles involved in delivering an effective and creative communications solution and give some top tips of how we can collaborate and work better together.

It includes:

  • why clients employ agencies
  • the role and relationship between client and agency
  • understanding the Marketing Director’s role – what they do and what they need
  • overview of agency functions and roles and how they are paid for creative solutions
  • top tips for effective working relationships

Module 4: Essential communications tools and theories
Authored by Neil Godber, Executive Strategy Director, Wunderman Thompson

This fourth module starts with looking at the brief – interrogating it to understand what is really needed and also how a brief can support creativity.

It includes:

  • looking at some of the key marketing theories you should be familiar with
  • the role of data
  • understanding people: insight and getting under the skin of your audience
  • sharing some commonly used communications terms and models

Module 5: Media planning fundamentals
Authored by Matt Philip, Head of Strategy and Lucy Hunt, Planning Business Director, Manning Gottlieb OMD

This module demonstrates media’s invaluable role as source, inspiration and enhancement of creativity and the creative process. It is approached from a media-neutral standpoint and includes relevant theories, inspiring examples and helpful facts to illustrate media’s changing profile.

It Includes:

  • clarifying the difference between comms planning and media planning
  • going deeper on media planning
  • exploring some of the key considerations when media planning
  • the media landscape
  • the future of media

Module 6: The creative content development
Authored by Debs Gerrard, EMEA Creative Director, The LEGO Group

In this module, we focus on the creative content development. We start by outlining why this module is important especially if you don’t work in a creative agency.

It includes:

  • what makes a good creative brief and how you can bring the brief to life
  • how content is conceived and created
  • the creative communications development process
  • judging creative Ideas and giving creative feedback
  • tools and techniques that anyone can use to be more creative

Module 7: Evaluating effectiveness – basic principles
Authored by Simon Gregory, Joint Chief Strategy Officer, BBH London

This final module outlines the basic principles of evaluating effectiveness. It
illustrates some of the ways in which the IPA has been at the vanguard of this
drive – as the home of the globally renowned Effectiveness Awards and Eff
Works and through the development of many landmark works and theories such
as those from Les Binet and Peter Field.

It includes:

  • what is effectiveness and why it is important?
  • setting clear objectives to ensure good evaluation
  • embedding effectiveness: from objectives to measurement to impact
  • how approaches to effectiveness are evolving
  • learn by example with best-in-class IPA Effectiveness Awards

Foundation Certificate students have access to a qualification tutor, who is
available to help with the subject matter.

IPA Effectiveness Awards case studies
To help bring the learning to life we feature examples of IPA Effectiveness
Award(s) winning papers throughout the learning and have included an additional
selection of winning IPA Effectiveness Awards case studies that students can
download and keep. Students are expected to study one of these case studies
for the final exam.

Recommended resources
We have also provided a list of recommended resources for each module,
ranging from blogs to books, that we encourage students to explore as wider
reading on the subject matter.

A certificate of completion is awarded to all delegates who successfully pass the exam.

Besides the amazing mix of speakers, coming from a small independent agency, it was really good to get amongst the other delegates and hear their experiences, challenges and successes.

Besides the amazing mix of speakers, coming from a small independent agency, it was really good to get amongst the other delegates and hear their experiences, challenges and successes.