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APG Night School

Next Online Course: 22nd, 24th, 29th, 31st July & 5th, 7th, 12th August 2024

APG Night School is a highly accessible, online training course for young planners and strategists just starting out in an agency.  The idea is to arm them with the skills a junior planner needs to start contributing and being useful, and help them understand agency cultures which can come across as baffling and hard to navigate.


Think of it as everything you might take ages to ‘learn on the job’ packaged up into 7 easy to access modules.

What is it and who is it for?

APG Night School is a brand new kind of online training for planners and strategists who are new to agency life. It’s aimed at people in their first 18 months of work, typically under 25 years old.


It covers the most important things planners are asked to do at the start of their career in a series of short, clear, practical modules. 


These include doing a competitive review, understanding the different uses of qual and quant research, coming up with and presenting initial strategic thoughts, helping out on a pitch, building confidence and learning what makes you most useful as a junior planner.


Critically, the course is taught by a group of brilliant senior strategists, hand-picked for their knowledge and skills but youthful enough to remember exactly what it’s like to be starting out in the often baffling and sometimes scary world of planning in an agency.


Each module covers the theory and things you really need to know, and gives you the chance to put some of them into practice and ask any question with confidence – even if it might seem silly to you.  Trust us – all questions are good questions and will be treated as such.

When is it and how does it work?

The APG Night School will run in the evenings online on 22nd, 24th, 29th, 31st July, 5th, 7th & 12th August 2024.


Mon 22nd July: 5.30-7pm BSTExtended Intro to meet the tutors and How to do a Competitive Review (Xanthe Fuller, VCCP)

How to design and create a competitive review (with culture and trends analysis) without spending days on it. Guidance on how to approach it, how to do the analysis and what you should be aiming to communicate with it.


Weds 24th July: 5.30-6.30pm BST | Confidence Tricks of the Trade (Ally Waring, BBH)

In this module you will learn how to turn the volume down on your inner confidence demon by getting to know yourself better.

Mon 29th July: 5.30-6.30 BST | Qual/Quant (David Slade, TBWA)

An accessible intro to qual and quant data and research, with tips on when and how to use them and encouragement to get the most out of data and make it interesting.

Weds 31st July: 5.30-6.30 BST | Strategic Territories (Rob Sandford, Bacardi)

What is meant by ‘strategic territories’? How do you go about doing the prep and the research and how to coming up with initial ideas that can help inspire a brief.

Mon 5th Aug: 5.30-6.30 BST | How to Keep Being Useful (Kit Owens, adam&eveDDB)

Even when you’re not sure what you are supposed to be doing you can still do a good job. Lots of tips and specific advice on how to be useful to your Planning Director, your team and the creatives.

Weds 7th Aug: 5.30-6.30pm BST | Presenting Strategy (Gemma Smyth, Contagious Communications)

How to organise and present your thinking. This module will clarify your role and what is expected of you, show you how to go about doing the right kind of research and give you the tools and the confidence to present your findings 

Mon 12th Aug: 5.30-7pm BST | Help! I’ve been asked to work on a pitch (Gemma Smyth, Contagious Communications)

You will understand what working on a pitch looks and feels like, have a go at your own pitch and leave with the tools you need to be a helpful and sought after member of the team.

What is the cost?

APG Members: £250+vat

Non-members: £350+vat

Tickets are not refundable. Also please note we can't offer catch-up sessions on future courses, if for any reason you can't attend, and the sessions will not be recorded.  

Course Enquiries

If you are interested in being a delegate on this programme and have a question, please e-mail Alison Trotter -

Who are the trainers?

They are all senior strategists who are really good at what they do and have an enthusiasm for sharing what they know and being as helpful and supportive as they can to the next generation of planners and strategists coming after them. 

What is it?
When is it?
Who are the trainers?
Course enquiries
What is the cost?
Who is it for?
How does it work?
Ally Waring.jpg

Ally Waring

Strategy Director at BBH London

Ally is a self-confessed 'recovering perfectionist' who, having experienced both the rough and smooth ends of this weirdly wonderful industry over the course of her career, regularly advocates for wellbeing in advertising. She teaches at two top creative universities alongside her role as a Strategy Director at BBH London where she also co-leads their early careers programme, Homegrown.

Gemma Smyth.jpg

Gemma Smyth

Lead Strategist at Contagious Communications

Gemma fell into planning as a happy accident and, having worked at some tiny agencies and also 800-strong VCCP, has seen and learned from all kinds of planners and planning departments. She is involved in VCCP Stoke, which aims to get a more diverse range of young talent from all over the country into the industry.

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Rob Sandford

Global Insights Director - Grey Goose at Bacardi 

Rob is the Global Strategy and Insight Director for Grey Goose at Bacardi Global Brands. He has 10+ years of agency experience for some of London's best independent and network shops, most recently with Ogilvy London. 

His work for the likes of Argos, Diageo, Heineken, Vodafone and Relate has won him Gold awards at Cannes, the DMAs, the Campaign Big Awards and most recently a Silver Effie and Bronze APG. When not at award shows, Rob is a mentor and coach for his childhood sports club.

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Kit Owens

Senior Planner at adam&eveDDB

Kit is a Senior Planner at adam&eveDDB, where he works on Great Western Railway and BT. Before that, he worked at Ogilvy, learning the tricks of the trade across loads of different disciplines. His work has been recognised by the APG, Effie UK and The Marketing Society. 

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David Slade

Brand Creative Strategist at TBWA London

David works in Planning at TBWA London, working on the Nissan brand. Before that, he was at a small boutique agency called Keko that specialised in luxury brands. He is a self-proclaimed Planner who enjoys using long-term brand strategy and market trends to implement data-driven, creative campaigns. He is also a fan of both football and film, though is yet to see a good football film.

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Xanthe Fuller

Planner at VCCP

Xanthe is a planner at VCCP, working on the Cadbury account. She shimmied into planning after a stint in account management. She is the planning lead on the VCCP Stoke Sixth Form Challenge, where 16 -18 year olds are given an insight into the advertising industry. 

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