The PR Internships For All drive, which is backed by the Taylor Bennett Foundation and pressure group Intern Aware, is in reaction to the industry’s failure to become truly inclusive of people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The campaign was launched at the beginning of April with a challenge to the UK's top 25 agencies to get involved.
Fourteen have now committed to offer paid internships to students from universities outside the Russell Group within the next 12 months.
Leeds Metropolitan University's Business School has given its backing to the campaign and promised to work with the agencies to help them source the right candidates for internships.
Robert Minton-Taylor, senior lecturer in PR at the university, said: "PR Internships For All will give students a real opportunity to contribute to the success and vitality of the PR industry with the best PRCA member agencies in the country rather than being seen as a source of cheap labour. It’s a win-win situation."
Participating agencies will be entered into a new bespoke awards programme to recognise their commitment and will benefit from ongoing coverage throughout the campaign.
Agencies are being offered assistance from the Taylor Bennett Foundation. They will be able to hire trainees from the foundation's PR trainee programme as interns.
Agencies taking part in the initiative are asked to:
- hire a set number of paid interns from universities outside the Russell Group over the next 12 months
- hire a minimum of three interns for agencies with fewer than 100 employees
- hire a minimum of five interns for agencies with between 100 and 200 employees
- hire a minimum of ten interns for agencies with more than 200 employees
- hire all interns for at least a month
- pay all interns at least the National Minimum Wage
Agencies interested in signing up or finding out more about the scheme should contact PRCA communications director Matt Cartmell on 020 7233 6026 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The agencies taking part so far are, in alphabetical order:
- Bell Pottinger
- Cohn & Wolfe
- FTI Consulting
- Hill+Knowlton Strategies
- MSL Group London
- The Red Consultancy
- Weber Shandwick