Developing talent


Training and development

We invest in a range of development programmes to prepare our people to respond to changing client requirements. We have increased our focus on programmes which equip our people to work collaboratively, connecting across the breadth of our company to deliver for the growing number of clients who seek this type of service.

Overall, we spent £45.5 million on training in 2018 (2017: £44.9 million) with 65% of our people taking part in formal training programmes, averaging 5.7 hours per person.

WPP training programmes include:

  • Maestro: Orchestrating Client Value: Develops the effectiveness and confidence of our senior client-facing people inspiring courage, collaboration and innovation. There have been 4,369 participants from 158 WPP companies since 2003. We’ve now launched Maestro Fusion, a five-day course to help our client team leaders navigate complex business issues and to transform client and internal relationships from transactional to trust-based partnerships.
  • WPP Mini MBA: Workshops to help our rising talent broaden their business and marketing knowledge, develop leadership skills, and deliver client value. To date, 3,160 of our people have participated. Our latest module is focused on how to help clients who look to WPP to provide an agile, integrated and bespoke partnership across multiple disciplines. It covers mindsets and skills including: relationship building, communication and influence, cross-cultural competence and discipline fluency.
  • WPP MBA Fellowship programme: A global multidisciplinary programme for MBA graduates, with 82 participants to date.
  • WPP Leadership Toolkit for Managers: An interactive educational resource hosted on the WPP intranet. Provides knowledge and tools to help users demonstrate effective leadership, nurture their teams, and align them behind organisational goals.
  • The Learning Hub: A searchable database that enables WPP companies to share training resources and best practices. The database includes 310 resources so far.

Within our companies, employees can participate in a further range of training opportunities to develop their professional skills, leadership competencies and functional expertise.

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Education partnerships

We partner with schools, colleges and universities to promote our industry, build skills and create a future pipeline of talent. Our involvement ranges from strategic partnerships with leading universities to work with schools local to our offices. Many of our people serve as visiting lecturers or teachers.

Investment in skills is particularly important in faster-growing markets where our industry is less well established. Our key partnerships include: our partnership with the Indian School of Design and Innovation, in Mumbai, which offers a three-year undergraduate course on marketing communications; and the WPP Africa Academy, in Johannesburg, which provides training and talent development opportunities in partnership with the Red & Yellow School of Logic and Magic, a highly-respected marketing and advertising school.

In the UK we are participating in the Pearson College Rotational Degree Apprenticeship that enables young people to combine apprenticeships across different leading corporations with a business degree. Other examples include our work with the Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon, Portugal to collaborate in masters courses, co-teach executive education courses and support the School on its digital campaigns.

Many of our companies work with local schools to help build skills and alert young people to career opportunities in our industry. In the UK, for example, we support Inspiring the Future, an organisation that connects state schools and colleges with employers and professionals, giving young people better insight into different careers, jobs and educational routes. Over 200 of our people have spent time at local schools talking to children about careers, CVs and interview techniques.

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