£1m apprentice scheme aims to change the face of PR

The first Government-funded industry-wide PR apprenticeship scheme has been unveiled, with bold plans to help hundreds of non-graduates into the industry.

Diversity: Six hundred non-graduates offered places (Getty Images)
Diversity: Six hundred non-graduates offered places (Getty Images)

Around £1.2m has been set aside from the Government's £18.7m Higher Apprenticeship Fund for the scheme, PRWeek has learned.

It will be run by the PRCA in partnership with Pearson in Practice, a division of the global publishing firm Pearson, following a successful application to the National Apprenticeship Service.

Skills minister John Hayes heralded the partnership as 'great news for the public relations industry, and for ambitious young people who want to forge a career in this vital sector'.

The partnership is now working on plans to provide on-the-job training, qualifications and work experience to 600 young non-graduates from diverse backgrounds, over a three-year period.

The PRCA and Pearson in Practice will spend the next year working with PR employers and practitioners to develop a programme that will meet employer and employee needs. The first apprenticeships are expected to be provided by next September.

The news comes against a backdrop of increased scrutiny over the issue of access to the PR industry. In October, the PRCA and PRWeek launched a campaign calling for PR agencies to pledge to pay the minimum wage to all interns. Forty-seven have now signed up to this commitment.

PRCA chief executive Francis Ingham said: 'The PR industry contributes £7.5bn per year to the UK economy. It's about time we had an apprenticeship scheme to ensure a steady stream of high calibre candidates to our industry.'

Other partners in the scheme include Edexcel and the CfA - formerly the Council for Administration. The partners will form a board to operate the new scheme.

KEY FACTS

  • This year's PRWeek Census revealed that 89 per cent of PROs have at least an undergraduate degree
  • Ninety-four per cent of agency MDs said they wanted an apprenticeship scheme for the PR industry, according to a PRCA survey of 99 agency bosses in August/September
  • Ninety-two per cent would consider employing an apprentice.

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