GroupM: The GradX Africa Academy

The media and advertising industry in South Africa has historically been dominated by white people. South Africans of colour, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, have not been given the same opportunities, and therefore do not generally consider a career in the sector.

The GradX programme is a 12-month long, full-time 360-degree media programme for South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa that covers everything from Strategy, Planning, Search, and Social, to AdOps, and mReporting. GradX is designed to give young graduates from previously disadvantaged groups a chance to enter the advertising and media industry, to fast-track their career growth from graduate to mid-level roles over an 18–24-month period, and move into senior management level roles after three years.

GroupM in South Africa piloted the GradX programme in 2020 with 11 graduates as a proof of concept and developed the training modules. The two key measures of success for the programme are completion and absorption. In 2020, it had 100% completion and absorption; in 2021, with 34 graduates, it had 97% completion (1 graduate drop out) and over 72% absorption rate. In 2022, the plan is to have 32 new grads from South Africa and 10 from East and West Africa.

The GradX programme is tried and tested with 45 graduates already under its belt and the investment from WPP’s Racial Equity Programme will help the academy to scale and reach its full potential. For example, more African graduates, from more countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Involving clients and media owner partners to nurture and grow a diverse talent pool for the industry is one part of the solution to create the next generation of leaders.

The GradX Africa Academy is working toward 500 African Media & Advertising professionals entering the industry by 2025.