Talent - This agency hands out $1000 for training

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 6 June 2023
Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

B2B marketing agency I.M.A promotes employee happiness with a $1000 lump sum per year for staff members to spend on a training course related to their job role – but what that looks like is up to the employee.

The initiative has seen a staff member obtain a truck licence to have a more hands-on understanding of the transport industry and another take a professional photography course to assist with promotional products samples, but also to take better travel pictures. As well as funding many MBAs, Mark Ritson Mini MBAs, RMIT UI and UX courses, AdSchool and TAFE certificates. 

Launched in 2018, the program has seen a 65% uptake and is available to all staff, aiming to enhance employees interests and skills. 

Laura Tesluk, general manager at I.M.A B2B, told AdNews the $1000 doesn’t supersede any other on-the job training the agency provides but aims to enhance employees interests and skills. 

“Instead we wanted to apply ownership to employees on the training they undertook,” Tesluk said.

“We might be a small independent agency but we think big and want to offer our employees incentives that they may expect only to be available in larger agencies - nothing is off the table.”

Underpinning this initiative is evidence from the Harvard Business Review’s Happiness at Work material which I.M.A’s management team uses to inform their planning.

“The research says that people need to have meaning in their work and progress on tasks and skills and so that insight has become part of our EVP mantra,” Tesluk said.

“The program is just another way that we can look inward to enable the right attitudes with employees and provide the tools to allow them to be proactive in their own development. 

“The by-product of this is that employees learn something new which can be applied personally and professionally and I.M.A is supporting them.”

Recently returning from maternity leave Tamika Savage, I.M.A client marketing manager, completed AdSchool’s advanced account management through this program to have a refresh of her account management and leadership skills. 

“I was looking to challenge my existing knowledge, make industry connections and learn in a flexible way that suited my lifestyle,” Savage said.

“The personal satisfaction of undertaking the course, succeeding and mastering new skills was very rewarding. I was proud to share my new knowledge and skills with our team and felt valued by IMA.”


Jachin Cush, I.M.A group account director, had always looked up to Mark Ritson’s refreshing perspectives and, funded by the agency, was able to undertake Ritson’s Mini MBA.

“It had been a while since I had undertaken formal coursework and so I felt ready to throw myself at the challenge,” Cush said.

“The course validated some of my current practice but then also provided some deeper exposure into areas of marketing we don’t always get to go deep on in consultancy/ agency land outside of pure marketing communications and campaign work.

“I’ve been able to bring parts of the course back into the business, sharing learnings with the team but also feeding aspects of the course into how we may approach client’s b2b marketing challenges. It’s been great for confidence building and I’m certainly appreciative of IMA for backing me with it.”

Observing how businesses had to rapidly adapt to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic Alex Provan, I.M.A graphic designer, felt he needed an update on his field and undertook a online user experience design 6-week course at RMIT.

“I gained new processes for building digital products and websites. These processes were efficient ways to research, ideate and prototype. I also developed a better understanding of the psychology behind design decisions, starting with the user,” Provan said.

“It’s a great opportunity to develop new skills, advance my career, and take on new challenges at I.M.A. It has also allowed me to pursue interests that aren’t directly related to my role, but turn into unique transferable skills.”

shelby-bryonWorking as a junior marketing for two years Shelby Bryon, I.M.A marketing support, wants to expand her profession skills and is undertaking a Cert IV in marketing and communications.

“Studying while working full time is a commitment, but I feel there is a lot of value in having 'real world' experience and real-life case studies to loop back into my theory,” Bryon said.

“Having my professional development funded by my employer makes me feel like a valuable team member who is worth investing in.”

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus