Opinion: From our Readers - Minority candidates are in short supply

The debate on diversity in the PR industry (News, 16 July) is focused on the wrong issue.

It is no good having quotas for recruitment if the candidates are not available.

Communications is not a career that people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities particularly understand or consider entering. Families play a key part in influencing career choices and there is still a focus on doctor, lawyer, accountant, family business or public sector.

This was highlighted when we recruited six BME graduates for our own paid internships this summer. Even those with marketing degrees had no idea about comms as a career - at best, they thought it was 'celebrities and spinning'.

Our own interns have personally committed to changing perceptions by going into schools and universities, talking to friends and family.

What is needed is not recruitment quotas, but a national PR campaign to promote our own industry as a career for BME students.

Hallmark, Northern Rail and Bradford University School of Management have provided projects for our interns - and were blown away with the ideas and toolkits they came up with in just a few weeks.

Perhaps we should ask them to design this campaign.

Victoria Tomlinson, chief executive, Northern Lights PR.

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