The Taylor Bennett Foundation was developed by UK-based executive recruiter Taylor Bennett, itself an affiliate of US agency Heyman Associates, in 2008 to create a work-based training programme that encourages post-secondary graduates of ethnic and racial minority backgrounds to pursue comms careers.
In its first two years, it sponsored six trainees each. By the end of 2015, the foundation will have started nearly 150 trainees on the path to a PR career. To date, 83 per cent of programme graduates are currently working in comms, 78 per cent have done so for at least two years, and 95 per cent have remained employed for at least two years.
The foundation’s recruitment efforts now reach 25 universities. Perhaps the most illuminating figure: 60 per cent of programme graduates have donated their own time or money to support the foundation’s work. Its supporters include several agencies, as well as the CIPR and the PRCA.
The firm was one of five organisations given a Diversity Distinction award on Wednesday, triumphing in the Best In-House Diversity Initiative category. The awards scheme is run by PRWeek US in association with sector body the PR Council.
Judges were inspired by how the scheme took advantage of its expertise and connections to tackle the diversity and inclusion challenge.
"An incredible programme," opined one judge. "Replicable and scalable. Results matter and this programme epitomises the progress we all want."
"The impact this has on industry-wide staffing in the UK is obvious," added another judge. "But when 60 per cent of graduates give back to the programme, its value to them is underscored. That’s quite a testament."