PRCA schools

PR body seeks to widen next generation talent pool

The PRCA launches an initiative to ‘inspire students from all backgrounds’ to consider a career in PR

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The PRCA has marked the launch of its Schools Outreach Programme by publishing a series of videos and a new magazine aimed at inspiring schools students to consider a career in PR.

Launched during National Careers Week, the campaign aims to broaden the industry’s talent pool by raising awareness of PR amongst students from all backgrounds aged 16 and over.

We’re all the product of what we’ve seen, what we’ve read, where we’ve visited, what we’ve listened to, where we grew up, who we hang around with. The teacher who believed in us. The teacher who didn’t believe in us. As we create things so we become part of a creative lineage.

What if our mindsets, and experiences are drawn from only a small non-representative pool? What if the ideas and creativity of one-in-five of those within an industry are formed in a place where nationally the figure is only one-in-twelve?

According to last year’s PRCA Census 20% of the PR workforce have been educated at a fee-paying school - three times the national average.

Department for Education figures for England reveals ethnic minorities comprise 31% of the primary school population. Yet nine out of ten PR professionals identify as white, according to PRCA figures.

In a bid to explain PR’s relevance throughout all of society the PRCA has launched videos and a magazine.

The #PRCAschools video series features a two-minute explainer of public relations, as well as a series of informal interviews with PR professionals sharing their experiences and tips for aspiring practitioners.

The 16-page magazine - available online and in print - is packed with jargon-free insight on PR, and features case studies and best practice advice on how to secure entry-level positions. 

The PRCA has called on each of its corporate members to visit one school per year and has already begun scheduling appointments for members to address students in March.

Why representation is vital

Does it matter if we're not representative of the audience's we're trying to engage with and ultimately influence?

First and foremost yes, of course, it matters because representation is the right thing to do. Brands and organisations shouldn't discriminate. Instead, society should be accurately represented. It’s the moral thing to do. It’s the ethical thing to do. 

Cindy Gallop, former chair of Bartle Bogle Hegarty spoke recently to Contagious, the marketing intelligence and events magazine, about the ethical responsibilities that clients and agencies have when it comes to areas like diversity. 

“I'm not a fan of the word diversity because it’s not about diversity, it’s about humanity,” argued Gallop. “When we talk about diversity, all we’re talking about is reflecting the world as it really is.

Commenting on the launch, PRCA Director General, Francis Ingham MPRCA said: “The moral and business case for embracing diversity is undeniable. Broadening the talent pool is not a virtuous ambition – it is a business imperative. The success and sustainability of our industry is dependent on our workforce reflecting the society it seeks to engage.

“That is why I am very pleased to announce the start of our Schools Outreach Programme, which will inspire a new and diverse generation of PR professionals. Our new resources will empower members to educate students on the benefits of a PR career. I’d urge all members to join our growing community of volunteers and help us inspire the next generation of PR professionals.” 

Any PR practitioner can get involved in the PRCA schools outreach programme. To find out more and access the collateral visit the PRCA site.

Editor’s note

I am a PRCA council member having been elected in 2018.

About the Author Scott Guthrie

Scott Guthrie is an influencer marketing strategist, event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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