Red & Yellow School shapes Africa’s media professionals

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The Red & Yellow School has helped to shape the careers of many of South Africa’s top media, marketing and advertising professionals since it was founded more than 20 years ago, to address a shortage of skills and training in the sector.

Its exceptional track record grows from its roots as an institution created to equip its students for real-world work as soon they complete their studies.

Nicky Greenwall – television and media personality best known for producing and presenting eTV’s The Showbiz Report – puts it like this: “Red & Yellow was, for the most part, ‘simulated reality’. I never felt like a student. I felt like I actually worked there.” Greenwall studied art direction at Red & Yellow, graduating in 1998.

This helped form a career that has seen her produce and write hundreds of hours of TV content, reports on the Oscars and many European film festivals, and interview the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood. Among the valuable skills Greenwall learnt at Red & Yellow were the ability to think visually, communicate effectively and meet high expectations in the workplace.

Chris Gotz, executive creative director at Ogilvy, is another successful Red & Yellow graduate today working in his dream job. Among the first crop of students at the school, he studied copywriting and learnt first-hand from the pros what life in an agency would be like. “The school gives you a fantastic grounding in the basic disciplines,” he says. “Red & Yellow fostered in me an affection for advertising creativity that never really left me.”

For Kamini Pather – freelance media professional, radio host and winner of South Africa’s Masterchef, the time she spent at Red & Yellow helped her to understand the power of branding and marketing.

“The lessons I learned at Red & Yellow have really helped me build my personal brand,” she says.

“I understand the inner-workings of brands, how to work with and for them, demographic and target marketing and how all these facets work together to build strong brands.”

Her copywriting course at Red & Yellow complemented her undergraduate degree in marketing by giving her a chance to work as a writer alongside with designers and marketers. This provides students with a grounding in the sort of cross-discipline collaboration essential in any workplace.

Veli Ngubane, founding partner and creative director of AVATAR, is another Red & Yellow graduate who has had a stunning career. He was appointed to the board of Ireland/Davenport when he was well under the age of 30 and has since gone on to create a high-profile business of his own. He completed a post graduate marketing and advertising qualification with Red & Yellow in 2007.

He says Red & Yellow feels more like an agency than a school, giving students a taste of real-world experience.

“The model gives you a competitive advantage,” says Ngubane.

“By the time you start your first year of work, you are really on your second year of understanding, thanks to the practical training you receive at the school.”

“Twenty years ago, the School was founded to provide the advertising and marketing industries with young professionals armed with hands-on skills in key disciplines,” says Diane Charton, Red & Yellow Managing Director.

Since then, we have stayed close to the industry and continued to produce ambitious and highly employable talent.

“Our goal has always been to ensure that students get a return on investment from their studies because they leave us ready for the workplace. It’s an approach that benefits our industry partners, too, by giving them people who have the practical grounding they need to be productive right away.”

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