Golin and Kate O'Donnell of Hotwire take top prizes at PR Internships Awards

Golin has won the prize for Best Internship Programme at the PR Internships Awards 2016, organised by the PRCA and PRWeek.

Cohn & Wolfe was highly commended in that category from a shortlist that included Transport for London – which was also one of PRWeek's Best Places to Work for 2016 – PHA Media and Rostrum.

The Best Intern category was won by Kate O’Donnell, who had spent time at Hotwire as an intern, and now works there full-time. There were also two Highly Commended trophies in this category: Christopher Meers, who interned at Direct Line; and Laura Lovejoy, who interned at The Crowd and I.

Other shortlisted interns were Hattie Thorpe-Gunner (GingerMay PR) and Raisa Reza (Cohn & Wolfe).

The second annual awards, which celebrate the best in internships and interns across the PR industry, were announced on Thursday evening at the London office of the PRCA.

Golin – which was Highly Commended in its category last year – won praise for its Bright Young Things programme, which combines a structured training scheme and on-the-job learning. Intake to the programme grew from 12 to 25 per year, and the number of interns from BAME backgrounds and non-Russell Group universities also rose, as did the amount paid to interns.

Golin’s 'Unternship' programme, which sees one candidate offered a paid-for two-month adventure followed by a three-month internship, also caught the judges’ attention. The most recent 'Untern', Chloe Abrahams, spent time in three ‘tech-free’ locations to experience communicating without any technology.

O’Donnell interned at Hotwire last year and impressed the agency so much that she was given a full-time role in January. She was praised for taking ownership of projects, including managing press offices for a number of accounts and taking the lead on some social media work.

PRCA director general Francis Ingham said: "The entries we received this year were of an extremely high standard and I would like to commend everyone for participating in this year’s awards.

"Congratulations to all the winners – they truly deserve this recognition. I would also like to thank our judges – John Harrington from PRWeek, Amanda Andrews from Vodafone, Sarah Stimson from the Taylor Bennett Foundation and Kharis Brooks from Teamspirit.

"It is encouraging to see that the PR industry is home to such incredible young talent and this is partly thanks to the organisations that are willing to offer structured and engaging internships. We hope more organisations will follow suit to help produce even more of the talented young professionals this industry needs."

PRWeek deputy editor John Harrington said: "These awards demonstrate that the PR industry is employing its creative flair to great effect when it comes to internships, with some fantastic examples of best practice on display. A huge congratulations to all the shortlisted entrants, and particularly to the winners."

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