PR agencies in the West are being invited to hire trainees through a new apprentice scheme that aims to widen the intake of young people to the profession.
Traditionally those taking up a career in public relations have tended to be graduates. But a new initiative launched by the PRCA (Public Relations Consultants Association) and training group Pearson in Practice is offering agencies the chance to recruit 16-24 year olds who have not been in higher education.
The Public Relations Higher Apprentice will start in October in five locations across the UK, including Bristol where Pearson already has a training centre.
The scheme, which will train young people to NVQ Level 4 – equivalent to BTEC or the first year of a degree course, has been developed in association with examination firm Edexcel, and will run for 12 to 18 months depending on the apprentice and their employer.
Every apprentice will have two weeks’ full-time training at the start of the programme followed by day-release training for the duration of the scheme. Training will involve a mix of online webinars by industry experts, classroom-based activities, workplace assessments, one-to-one tutorials and individual study. As well as core PR skills, apprentices will also learn workload management, how to work as a team and quality standards.
Entrants would be expected to have a minimum of three A Levels with GCSEs at A* to C grade in English and Maths.
All apprentices will be paid by the agencies. However, grants from the Skills Funding Agency will be available. The PRCA expects many applicants to the scheme to prefer it over the cost of gaining a university degree and as a quicker route into the profession.
The apprenticeship was launched to West PR firms and in-house communications teams at a recent event in the city.