Porter Novelli offers young women a taste of PR

PR firm Porter Novelli has partnered up with girl-focused charity BelEve UK to offer young women a taste of agency life by working together on a new campaign.

The charity works with eight to 18-year-old girls to help equip them with the right support, skills and confidence needed to improve their social and economic outcomes.

BelEve does outreach at schools and in the community, and workshops with Lewisham’s youth service to identify young women who might benefit from its ‘skills development experiences’.

The scheme saw nine young women spend time at Poter Novelli to develop a campaign around sexual harassment called ‘It is That Deep’.

It was developed through their own colloquialisms and experiences and involved creating a multichannel response that highlighted sexual harassment amongst their peers and how to speak out and seek help.

A workshop at the agency's office

Marsha Powell, one of the founders of BelEve UK, said the experience was essential for young women to think about their future, and that more opportunities like this are needed if industries are to be more diverse.

Thianna-May Campbell, 16, from Greenwich, said she wasn’t sure what PR was before, but now the aspiring film-maker said she would be happy to work in the industry as she could see where those film skills are needed.

"[PR] was never something I thought about, but I know I want to do something that uses social media," said 15-year-old Adrianna Campbell from Bromley.

Annie Wisbey, from Bermondsey, said: "I liked learning about presenting but I’m really interested in design." The 18-year-old worked on the artwork for the campaign.

All three agreed that there was little to no advice at their schools or colleges about pathways into the industry, especially after seeing their arts and humanities courses hit by changes to school funding by central government.

A poster idea for the campaign

Powell explained that some of the girls were "in awe", as they had never been up to London Bridge before. "Being treated like a colleague, and an adult, the whole experience is really important, and I think the film they made is amazing," she added.

After watching the nine BelEve girls present their campaign, managing director at Porter Novelli Jo Patterson said the group should be proud of the hard work and effort they had put in.

She added: "Diversity and Inclusion is currently at the top of every agency agenda, but we’ve got to do more than just talk about it. The aim of this programme is to give girls who may never consider a career in PR - or might not even know what it is - the chance to come and experience what working in an agency is really like."

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