Louise’s story

Louise de Silva from Outstanding Branding is this year’s bpma Professional Development Student of the Year award winner.

Louise joined Outstanding Branding in February as production manager from a background in retail, working in buying and product development within children’s wear. She enrolled on the Trained in Promotional Merchandise course within the education programme in February and achieved an impressive 100% in the exam in April.

“Louise worked so hard at her TPM exam, so I was thrilled to hear she’s achieved 100% given that she was new to the industry and therefore had a whole host of new skills and knowledge to pick up at the same time. To have devoted so much energy to the course is very impressive,” says Sarah Penn, managing director of Outstanding Branding, “so to hear she had been awarded student of the year was the icing on the cake to me, a real recognition of all that effort and hard work.”

Louise tells Product Media Magazine her success story and offers advice to those studying on the education programme.

How did you find working in a new role and studying at the same time? 

Starting in a new role is always challenging especially being new to the promotional merchandise industry. I found that studying for the TPM exam gave me an opportunity to quickly learn all about the industry and really helped me to settle into my new role.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

The most challenging part of studying while working in a new role was fitting in time to study. I studied on my commute to work and kept my revision notes with me so that if I had any free time I could use it to prepare for the exam.

What aspects of the education programme did you enjoy the most?

Definitely learning about all of the different methods of branding products. I had been to visit some of our suppliers to see a lot of the processes first hand so it was great to learn more about what is involved.

How have you been able to apply your knowledge learnt on the programme to your role?

I use the knowledge learnt on the programme every day. Part of my role includes checking orders before they are processed by the production department so it is here that the knowledge about print processes, artwork etc is invaluable.

How did you study and revise for the TPM exam? 

I used a few different ways to prepare for the exam. Firstly I watched the videos on the online platform, printed out the revision notes and highlighted the most important sections, then I wrote out my own revision notes to study from. Finally, I answered the quiz questions online. Most of the time I needed quite a few attempts at the quiz before I passed and received the credits.

Tell us about the exam – did you enjoy it?

I felt quite nervous before the exam but once I started answering the questions I started to relax. I was so surprised when I heard that I’d got 100% in the exam. My main focus had been to pass – I never dreamed that I would do so well.

What is your advice for anyone new to the industry?

I really feel that the TPM exam is the best way for someone to learn all about the promotional merchandise industry and my advice would be to go for it. It’s a sure-fire way to learn all of the important theoretical knowledge and once you have completed the exam it makes you feel so much more confident in your role.

Do you have any tips for the learners on the programme?

My main tip is to start early and print the revision notes straight away then you can revise during train journeys, or in your lunch hour. I found revising in lots of small chunks like this much preferable to spending a whole weekend studying.

Daniela Arena, bpma professional development manager, adds: “Louise really embraced the education programme. She has used this to enhance and accelerate her knowledge and understanding in her new role. I look forward to supporting Louise through her Certified in Promotional Merchandise qualification (CPM) within the education programme.”

For more information on the education programme or to arrange a demo, contact daniela@bpma.co.uk.

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