With ARCON Accreditation, We Have Our Task Cut Out For Us-Ozone

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“Partnership made in Heaven” Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, Registrarand Chief Executive of ARCON with Ozoemena ‘Ozone’ Mbanefo, Provost, O2 Academy following the accreditation of the academy for ARCON’s PDA exams.

Recently, exciting news hitting the industry has it that Oxygen Academy, O2 Academy for short, has been accredited by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, ARCON (formerly APCON-Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria), as an examination centre for the wave-making regulatory body in Nigeria for awarding the prestigious Professional Diploma in Advertising (PDA). This development has lifted the advertising school amongst its contemporaries in the world, placing it at par with the frontline advertising schools with pedigree, in the world. Again, this development makes O2 Academy the only advertising/marketing school in Nigeria with such powers and one of the only two institutions in Nigeria with that capacity. Brand Communicator caught up with the Provost of the institution, Ozomena ‘Ozone’ Mbanefo who discussed the implication of this development for the wider integrated marketing communications ecosystem as well as how prospective and current students, as well as alumni of O2 Academy, can benefit from this. He also spoke on the recent wave made by ARCON- the new face of regulation.

On becoming ARCON accredited

I must commend the leadership of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria led by the enigmatic Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, for his ingenuity and for seeing the great works we have been doing with the academy over the years. We are proud to have become a certified ARCON examination centre. This means that we have the authorisation to act as a centre for anyone who wants to sit in for ARCON exam in 02 Academy, even our alumni and stand the chance to be earn the Professional Diploma in Advertising from ARCON.

When we were notified by ARCON about our certification and when the MOU came to us, I couldn’t be prouder of my country, knowing that some organisations and bodies are working diligently to improve the polity. Give it to ARCON…it boasts a leadership that understands what this industry needs. One of these needs is the necessity to empower a school that is empowering young people and helping them get into the advertising industry.

How it affects O2 Academy, its alumni and the industry

The entire marketing communications ecosystem is better for it with this collaboration with ARCON. It is only effective leadership that recognises effective institutions that they can collaborate with to make things easier and better for people.

For us at 02 Academy, we understand that this means we will be getting more attention and attracting more young people into the industry through our training. More people will be getting interested in advertising and they will be venturing into that through the gateway ARCON has created through the academy.

We are not oblivious to the fact that our alumni will want to know their place following this development. Many will want to upgrade their certification without wanting to go through the rigorous process of doing the first, second and third exams you ideally have to go through in getting the certification from ARCON. But because ARCON has recognised that we do have the best quality training-as evidenced from the work our alumni do in different agencies over the years- they decided that we can go ahead and train people for them while they test them through exams and certify them.

For our alumni who already have the TBE (Total Brand Experiential Certification), they can have their certificate upgraded to PDA if they come and take the PDA exam in 02 Academy. They will go through a refresher course before this exam. The PDA exam comes with a fee though it will be like 50% off for them. Once they write the exam and pass, they get their certification on the day of induction from ARCON.

This is a marriage made in Heaven because ARCON has acted smart in recognizing what the industry needs. ARCON has shown interest and commitment in getting more talents into the advertising industry, especially in the face of the scarcity of talents in the industry.

“We will do our very best in continuing in our tradition of upping the ante and raising the bar for excellence.”

For us as an academy, this foists more responsibilities on us. We will do our very best in continuing in our tradition of upping the ante and raising the bar for excellence. I personally understand that to whom much is given, much more is expected. So, we will do everything within our power to upgrade the standard of our courses such that ARCON will be proud of the opportunity they have given us. We will not fail APCON, we will do everything to maintain the quality that the academy has come to be known for over the years.

Impact on the curriculum and fees

The accreditation is coming at a time when we as an organization decided to broaden our courses. Suffice to say, it couldn’t have come at a better time. This also signifies a new vista for our curriculum as we will now have to collaborate with ARCON in terms of enriching it and making it broader.

We were already expanding our courses before ARCON tasked us to collaborate in this direction. In fact, if you go to our website, you will see packages on experiential marketing and media strategy among others. In the coming days, we will be launching those different courses for the next session.

On fees, I will like us to consider what the certification and accreditation entail. The certification we are talking about here is PDA (Professional Diploma in Advertising). If you consider that we are the only advertising academy that is getting this accreditation for PDA, it tells you that what we have now is nothing below standard anywhere in the world in terms of certification.

For that, there has to be an increase in fees because though these exams will be conducted in O2 Academy they are powered by ARCON.

O2 Academy- Fourteen Years of Oxygenising Advertising in Nigeria

In its fourteen years of operations, O2 academy has graduated over 6000 professionals with around top 50 agencies benefitting in one way or the other. O2 Academy like Miami Ad School and its likes across the world is a hands-on creative training school designed to bring the everyday workplace experience of an advertising agency to every fresh graduate and talented individual with a passion for advertising. It is certified by ARCON and acts as its accredited centre as well as the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN)-the creative advertising subsector’s umbrella for the purpose of offering training and human capital development for the industry.

Coming at a time the creative advertising industry was finding it hard to get ‘ready’ professionals into their ranks, O2 came up as an initiative by a team of seasoned Advertising professionals to revolutionize the ad world and to write the name of the country on the world map of advertising. ”Taking a peep into the future, we discovered that the present scarcity of creatives would definitely jeopardize the Nigerian ad industry in the near future. Hence, we decided to come together with one simple goal, “to grow new creative ad men and duplicate ourselves in them” Ozone had said a few years ago in an interview.

O2 Academy is structured in a way that goes beyond growing ad men, it shows them why they need that growth. The academy is a 23-week hands-on creative training that has the School of advertising, marketing and media. At the school of Art Direction, students learn Copy-writing. /Content writing, Strategic Planning and Concept Origination, while at the school of marketing, their skills in Sales training, Marketing Strategy and Digital Marketing is fine-tuned. For the school of media, students get hands-on practical sessions learning cinematography, video production and photography.

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