PRCA launches Schools Outreach Programme as it marks its 50th anniversary

The PRCA has rolled out a Schools Outreach Programme in an effort to raise the profile of the industry to school leavers.

PRCA director general Francis Ingham has called on the industry to embrace the schools outreach programme
PRCA director general Francis Ingham has called on the industry to embrace the schools outreach programme

The initiative provides practitioners with the assets and resources they need to visit schools, introduce students to PR, and drive awareness of PR as a career option.

Importantly, it compels corporate members who have signed up to commit to visiting at least one school each year.

It was developed by the PRCA’s Diversity Network, led by co-chairs Pema Seely and Rax Lakhani.

Seely said: "Our key purpose here is to educate young minds from all backgrounds about PR and communications as a career path. The Schools Outreach Programme is focused on educating children and their parents or guardians in order to futureproof the talent pipeline, and ensure that the industry is more accessible than ever."

Speaking at the 50th anniversary party, PRCA director general Francis Ingham described the industry's diversity figures as inexcusable.

"One in ten practitioners are from ethnic minority backgrounds, or from families that received income support when they were children. And only four per cent of those surveyed considered themselves to have a disability. Our industry will not reach its potential until we broaden our talent pool."

Ingham explained that the PRCA will be encouraging corporate members to commit to visiting one school each year.

"The School Outreach Programme will include an educational toolkit, designed to encourage schoolchildren to think about a career in PR, as well as a video featuring interviews with a diverse range of PR professionals talking about what PR can offer," he added.

"We’ll be sending the toolkit to members to ensure that they have everything they need to inspire the next generation of PR professionals."

Diversity is major issue in the profession. Part of the problem is attracting talent from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, although another important issue that needs to be addressed is helping established talent from diverse backgrounds progress their careers.

Recently, W Communications launched a social enterprise, WX, to improve social mobility in the industry.

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