PR industry in running to launch MA apprenticeships under government reforms

The PR industry is bidding to become one of the first sectors in England to offer master-level degree apprenticeships under new government reforms.

Francis Ingham: “Introducing PR apprenticeships has helped agencies and in-house teams diversify"
Francis Ingham: “Introducing PR apprenticeships has helped agencies and in-house teams diversify"

The Prime Minister announced plans yesterday to roll out the degree apprenticeships, forming part of the Government’s apprenticeship programme.

The PRCA has applied to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop the new qualification in partnership with universities.

Employers will co-design the apprenticeship, to boost the number of apprentices offered full-time employment.  

It is expected that the new qualification will be open to both graduate trainees and recruits who have completed a lower-level apprenticeship. The 12- to 18-month course will enable them to gain a master’s degree in PR while working and earning.

The apprenticeship will be designed to ensure apprentices can become press officers, comms managers or account managers. The costs for the degree apprenticeship will be met two-thirds by the Government and one-third by employers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The apprentice agenda is not simply a numbers game, it is about quality as much as quantity. Degree apprenticeships bring together the very best of higher and vocational education, and allow apprentices to achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree, while training on the job. The initiative sees professional bodies such as the PRCA, universities and employers joining forces to develop the highly skilled workers our economy needs."
 
Alongside the new master’s qualification will be a new standard for the existing PR apprenticeship – which is designed to help school leavers become junior consultants – to reflect the feedback on the first two years of the PR apprenticeship programme.

The existing apprenticeships launched in late 2012 and have seen 120 apprentices taken on in two years, according to the latest figures released by the Government.

Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, said: "Introducing PR apprenticeships has helped agencies and in-house teams diversify the way they recruit junior staff and grow their own talent. Since late last year the PRCA has been accredited as an official training provider, meaning we can ensure the quality of the courses apprentices in the industry take meet our own exacting standards."
 
Simon Francis, director at Claremont Social Communications, has been appointed by the PRCA as chair of the industry group to develop the new standards.

Agencies and in-house PRs are able to comment on the new standards for apprenticeships by contacting the PRCA.

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