From education to employment

Unprecedented Demand from Gen Z for first-of-its-kind creative academy in Wales

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Cardiff-based agency, Rebel Lion Advertising, has been inundated with applications for its Resistance Academy since officially announcing its launch earlier this month.  

The Resistance Academy – which is the first and only of its kind in Wales – is a direct response to a growing demand among Gen Z for work experience, skills development, and job opportunities in the creative sector in the Welsh capital. 

It aims to overcome academic biases by providing Gen Z with essential real-world agency experience and opportunities within the creative sector in Wales – no matter what their educational background.

The academy – which is a registered AQA training centre – offers hands-on experience in a fast-paced advertising agency – with the opportunity to work directly on campaigns for some of the biggest household names. 

The week-long programme – which is already full for its April dates – offers budding creatives a unique opportunity to work on a live brief for a national brand and gives participants the opportunity to sample every aspect of agency life – from media buying, planning, and audience research to creative strategy, pitching, and presenting to a client. The initiative also includes invaluable Q&A sessions with Rebel Lion’s directors to help individuals further expand their knowledge, develop their skills, understand their strengths, and find their specific areas of interest within the industry.

The inaugural cohort of six students, in partnership with the University of South Wales’s BA Advertising degree, completed the pilot programme in late January. With support from Rebel Lion’s directors, the week-long experience saw the students work on all aspects of a brief for Cardiff City Football Club – culminating in a face-to-face pitch to the client at Cardiff City Stadium.

Max Kingston, a first-year student at the University of South Wales said of the experience:

“I’ve always had a creative brain and seeing my ideas come to life gives me confidence and motivation to continue with my growing passion for this industry.”

Course leader for the BA Advertising degree programme at the University of South Wales, Lee Thomas, said: 

“We are delighted for our USW Advertising students to be the very first intake into the Rebel Lion Advertising Resistance Academy. It’s such a pleasure to work with Matt and his team to put this partnership in place and for our students to work on a live brief within an agency environment.”

As an agency, Rebel Lion Advertising is renowned for being Designed to Do Things Differently, and the Resistance Academy is no exception. Aside from aiding students – providing invaluable skills, experience, and access to industry professionals that goes beyond what a conventional course can offer – the initiative is also hoping to develop local talent and create more job opportunities for Gen Z within the creative sector in Wales. 

Commenting on the academy’s success, Rebel Lion Advertising and Resistance Academy Founder and CEO Matt Jones said: 

“At Rebel Lion, we believe in the power of defiance – the courage to challenge the status quo. As the company grows and evolves, we want to offer rebels of all different backgrounds and ages a way into the competitive, fast-paced world of strategic, impactful, and tailored advertising. This is just the beginning, and we have bold plans for our Academy – watch this space!”

Adding to this, Resistance Academy Training Coordinator Aaron Corria said: 

“Having previously worked in the education sector for nine years, I have never seen anything quite like The Resistance Academy offering. We are creating a pathway to the creative industries to individuals from all backgrounds and skillsets.

“Investing in the development of local young talent is an investment to both our agency and to the creative industry as a whole.”

Aside from providing an invaluable insight into the industry, the academy is also a registered AQA training centre – and learners who successfully complete the week-long experience are awarded an AQA Level 3 Principles of Marketing and Advertising Unit Award. This includes completing a learner objective workbook and engaging in practical based tasks where the learners are supported by Rebel Lion staff – including Rebel Lion Advertising CEO and Dragon’s Den winner, Matt Jones. 

The April Resistance Academy – which takes place at Rebel Lion’s base at Dolphin House in Cardiff City Centre – is already full, but applications are now open for its upcoming intakes in May, July, and September. Applications can be made via

With a focus on fostering a diverse and inclusive learning environment – and providing a new, alternative route into the industry – the Resistance Academy represents a bold step towards nurturing and empowering the next generation of creative talent in Wales. 

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