Industry plans schools blitz to put PR on the map

The PR industry is amassing an army of volunteers to go into schools as part of an ambitious drive to change the curriculum.

Targeting new talent: CIPR representatives have visited schools
Targeting new talent: CIPR representatives have visited schools

The CIPR has drawn up plans to build a national network of 500 members in a bid to reach 15,000 school pupils and college students by the end of 2014.

The industry body aims to increase the accessibility and awareness of an industry with a self-acknowledged reputation problem.  

CIPR chief executive Jane Wilson explained: ‘We will be able to reach people at the first point of the term when they are fresh and thinking about the future, and that is a real opportunity.’

She added that the long-term aim was to work with the Department for Education to start to ‘influence the curriculum and help put PR on the map’.

The CIPR is scaling up outreach work begun in February, in which 176 volunteers went into schools to talk to 14- to 16-year-olds about the industry.

The trade body is expanding its education plans to target 16- to 18-year-olds for the first time, with workshops in conjunction with the Nat-ional Citizen Service (NCS).

This drive will also involve expanding beyond a network currently confined to London and the South East, with PR professionals already set to give talks in Bolton.

The PRCA is also looking at plans for a volunteering programme, with comms director Matt Cartmell backing Wilson’s call for greater acknowledgement of PR in the curriculum.

‘It’s about helping prepare qualifications more suited to the modern-day media world, and the role PR has to play in it,’ he added.

The two industry bodies will work together with the Career Development Institute (CDI) on sending out around 1,000 inf-ormation packs to career adv-isers for 16- to 18-year-olds.

Key plans

Workshops The first, run with the NCS, will involve 80 teenagers aged 16 and 17 being taught about PR at a half-day seminar. 

Career packs Packs will be given to careers advisers through the CDI to take
into schools and colleges outlining what PR is.

Volunteer visits A network of schools and colleges offers CIPR speakers for assemblies or career taster days.

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