Taylor Bennett Foundation calls for PR mentors to promote diversity in the industry

A scheme to address the issue of diversity in the PR industry at entry-level is appealing for PR professionals to step forward as mentors to graduates.

Chris McCafferty: 'Diversity is so important'
Chris McCafferty: 'Diversity is so important'
The Taylor Bennett Foundation was set up in 2008 to tackle the lack of ethnic diversity in the PR industry. The scheme involves black and ethnic minority graduates spending ten weeks getting intensive PR training, work-based experience and career guidance.

The graduates also get to meet media, agency and in-house professionals and this year joined PRWeek for a news meeting and Q&A session.

All interns also receive career guidance as part of the programme, but the scheme has been so successful that the Taylor Bennett Foundation is now looking for PR practitioners to act as mentors to the participants.

Sarah Stimson, course director at the Taylor Bennett Foundation, said the number of interns now entering the scheme meant that it was now logistically impossible to personally support all of them once they moved into their careers and beyond.

She said: ‘It is incredibly important that PR practitioners engage with entry-level talent and invest in the future of the industry. It is only with guidance and support from experienced PROs that juniors will be able to develop their skills and ensure we get the best out of them. It also helps them build strong networks, which is particularly important for graduates from more diverse backgrounds who many not have access to professionals through their friends or parents’ friends.’

Those already signed up to mentor graduates include Chris McCafferty, MD of Kaper and Nina Arnott, European communications director at McDonald’s.

McCafferty said: ‘Diversity is so important, we have a real challenge as an industry not to be one-dimensional in our thinking. I am doing this because it’s a great thing to be involved in, and I will learn as much from the individual I am working with as they will from me.’

Mentors are partnered with graduates who can benefit the most from their advice and skills, and are asked to meet with their mentees once a month for coffee to discuss career aspirations and offer help and advice.

Anybody who is interested in becoming a mentor should contact Stimson on sarah@taylorbennettfoundation.org.

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