NABS launches Fast Forward with a focus on mental wellbeing

NABS Fast Forward training programme, now in its 23rd year, is open for enrolment with a heightened focus on mental health and wellbeing.

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


The 10th October marks Mental Health Day and industry wellbeing charity NABS is marking the occasion by announcing that enrolment is open for its Fast Forward training programme. This year the programme will have a renewed focus on supporting the mental wellness of rising stars in advertising, marketing and media.

The Fast Forward training programme is entering its 23rd year and is designed to improve the pitching skills of junior to mid-level talent. New for this year, Fast Forward has added an extra emphasis on mental wellness awareness and support.

The training programme sees delegates compete in teams to respond to a real-life brief over the course of six weeks. During this time mentors will be on hand to give expert support and industry-renowned speakers will give informative talks about the pitching process.

This year, the course will take place in a hybrid model to cater to a variety of learning styles and support work-life balance. A course workbook filled with practical, neuroscience-based tools has been designed to help delegates develop a growth mindset for learning. The course will also have an added emphasis on mental health awareness as NABS continues its mission to better embed mental wellness into the industry. 

Pitch positive

The pitching process is one that causes much stress and anxiety for talent which led to the announcement of the Pitch Positive Pledge from the IPA and ISBA last year. The Pledge is supported by Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and NABS, and was born following reports that almost 40% of the industry workforce felt stressed or anxious in the twelve months prior to its launch. Where Fast Forward aims to better equip talent with pitching skills this year,  industry leader, Julian Douglas, International CEO and Vice-Chairman, VCCP, who has been instrumental in creating the Pitch Positive Pledge, is signed on to the programme as a speaker. 

Douglas will be sharing his insights in a session titled ‘positive pitching’, setting the tone for a supportive and mental-health-aware approach to pitching, not just during the programme, but throughout the course of the delegates' careers. The hope is to bring talent and the industry together to make the pitching process more considerate of the mental health of those involved.  

“Fast Forward offers delegates a real-life pitching experience, and we’re all aware of the pressures that pitching can bring. That’s why we’re as keen to build delegates’ awareness of mental health throughout the process as the other skills that they’ll learn throughout the course. We look forward to welcoming our next cohort.” says Eleanor Singh, Course Leader, Fast Forward.

Creating the conditions for better wellbeing

This year’s Fast Forward programme has also been created with NABS’ focus on the importance of community when it comes to advancing mental wellness in mind. The programme will help delegates by creating an opportunity for them to connect with their peers, mentors and speakers, helping them to build their own networks and communities which can be hard in remote working environments. 

As well as empowering course delegates with the tools and experience they need to support their mental wellness, Fast Forward also teaches essential skills such as teamwork and communication. 

Previous delegates have made careers in the industry in a variety of roles, attributing the course to building a deeper knowledge of the pitching process and helping them confidence. By preparing talent with practical tools for success and creating a foundation of wellness, the Fast Forward scheme prepares delegates with the knowledge to help build a more progressive industry. 

Fast Forward applications are now open, and the course starts in February 2024. Each place costs £1250pp until 31 October 2023 and then £1450 thereafter. To find out more and to book, email [email protected] or visit the Fast Forward webpage