The comprehensive nature of Brands2Life's internship programme helped it win the top prize in this category.
Called the Junior Account Executive (JAE) Scheme, there's a clear nod to the fact the agency is keen to use it as a means of hiring talent. On average it recruits around 10-15 JAEs a year to the six-month placement.
All JAEs are paid above the London Living Wage during the placement, with a salary review if they stay on after the scheme. The aim is to ensure they feel comfortable living and working in their first role in London.
The interns can access a range of benefits from the start, from interest-free loans for rental accommodation to flexi-days once a week, free fruit and daily breakfasts, and a day off on their birthday.
Brands2Life looks for "enthusiastic and creative PR hopefuls" – there's no requirement for prior experience or degrees.
The structured programme is designed to up-skill JAEs in all areas. The 15 courses include Intro to PR, Presentation Skills, Creative Writing and Cultivating Media Contacts.
They are assigned to a portfolio of clients from day one, although there's a build-up to the most challenging elements, such as the media sell-in. Each JAE has a 'buddy' and a line manager to look after their progress.
The data speaks for itself: more than 25 per cent of Brands2Life staff started as JAEs – two are now board members. In 2019, the agency hired 18 JAEs, 85 per cent of whom stayed on after completing their internship.
Highly commended: Jargon PR
Judges were impressed with the scope and generosity of Jargon's internship programme, especially considering the agency's small size. One could say the internship model has a special place in Jargon's makeup, given that chief executive Simon Corbett got his break in PR as an intern.
Jargon takes two students at junior account executive level for 12 months during their university placement year.
Training for the interns includes biweekly lunch-and-learn sessions led by account managers, covering issues such as how to build relationships with journalists and setting up briefings around events.
Students have the same responsibilities as other JAEs, and by the end of their placement year are expected to have enough experience to lead several smaller accounts. They are typically paid between £18,000 and £22,000 a year and several interns have later returned to Jargon.
Pernod Ricard UK