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Advertising News South Africa

ACA, Red & Yellow launch graduate programme

The Association for Communications and Advertising (ACA) in partnership with Red & Yellow Creative School of Business (Red & Yellow) has announced the launch of the industry’s first Marketing, Advertising and Communications (MAC) graduate programme.


The ACA Graduate Programme in partnership with Red & Yellow is a first for the South African advertising and communications industry and will provide those enrolled with the opportunity to learn first-hand, the key disciplines required for career progression in their chosen fields within the industry. This includes account management, creative, media, digital strategy, and research and data.

“We are so pleased to partner with Red & Yellow on this exciting and much needed graduate programme,” says Gillian Rightford, interim executive director at the ACA. “People who enter the advertising industry often come from disparate backgrounds and can lack the foundational skills and knowledge about how the various parts fit together. The curriculum helps equip them with a broad, yet detailed understanding, and will also introduce them to a network of peers.”

In partnering with Red & Yellow, the programme will provide access to and insights from industry leaders and expert facilitators from the institution’s network who will teach students how the disciplines within the industry work together, as well as the key fundamentals of project management, agency finance, and ethical and responsible advertising.

The course content and intentional focus on the broad range of skills that delegates will be exposed to is a massive leg up for those young minds that would historically not have access to them, or would have to learn them over years in agency through trial and error.

Strong foundation

Lebo Sethole, ACA education tribe chair and human capital executive at Primedia, shares her excitement for this much needed programme. “The ACA is very excited to be part of this new initiative, a first for the ACA and delivered by Red & Yellow. A strong foundation is the key to success in any venture, and this continues to be much needed in our industry, empowering the next generation with the skills needed to have a successful future with us,” says Sethole.

The 12-month programme, developed on the basis of the MICT SETA (skills development within the sub-sectors of Advertising, Film and Electronic Media, Electronics, Information Technology and Telecommunications) accredited National Certificate in Advertising qualification, provides graduates with a Red & Yellow qualification upon completion and provides agencies with further skills development opportunities to incorporate into employee value propositions and upskilling activities.

“I am especially thrilled at the fact that two agencies have implemented the programme already, and that their graduates see the benefit of this initiative - this learning is crucial as our roles require it,” says Sethole.


For the inaugural roll out of the programme commencing on 2 April 2024, leading agency partners Publicis Groupe and Dentsu will be involved with delegates enrolled from both Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“We are really excited to be part of this inaugural cohort that is going to shape and set the standard for talent entering the industry," says Yevenia Naidoo, chief people officer at Publicis Groupe Africa. “This graduate programme speaks to our ongoing commitment at Publicis Groupe Africa to develop and grow diverse talent on our continent. The individuals selected to participate will form part of our existing flagship graduate programme called Le’Cubs.”

“We are really excited to be partnering with Red & Yellow by enrolling our 2024 intern cohort on the first MAC Industry Grad Programme,” says Saskia Daniels, BBBEE specialist and learning & development manager at Dentsu.

“We are pleased to see a curriculum that covers all disciplines and also offers fundamental topics like Agency structures and Functions, Project Management and Finance Fundamentals and even a section to assist young talent in navigating career development and work readiness.”

The launch of the programme coincides with Red & Yellow’s 30th anniversary.

Andrew Allison, chief commercial officer at Red & Yellow, is proud to see this programme come to fruition, having been in development for some time.

“The MAC sector is complex and has undergone some big changes over the last decade. It can be tricky enough for seasoned campaigners to navigate, let alone for new entrants just starting their careers. This complexity, combined with a growing need for juniors to “hit the ground running” when they start in agency, presents significant growth and development challenges for both the talent and teams in which they operate.”

“Higher education institutions like Red & Yellow and our curriculum and course options are designed to address these challenges head on, ensuring graduates have what it takes when they leave us. However, the reality is that agencies recruit from a much broader pool of candidates, many of whom don’t have industry-specific qualifications nor a practical understanding of the industry when they enter it. This is what this programme has been specifically designed to address,” concludes Allison.

“This programme is going to be invaluable to the students and to the industry at large, and we’re grateful to Red &Yellow for their exceptional learning design on the programme and look forward to it running for many years,” concludes Rightford.

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