LCC has announced that it began this academic year with a new industry advisory offering. It aims to provide expertise through guest lectures, client briefs and field trips, as well as giving students the chance to network with established PR practitioners.
The board includes individual members such as CIPR trainer Maud Davis; in-house pros including Mohammad Qazalbash, head of publicity at Live Nation Entertainment; and organisational members such as Don't Cry Wolf, KWT Global, Say Communications and Tin Man Communications.
“Over the last few years, we have partnered with the LCC in various capacities,” said Mandy Sharp, founder and chief executive of Tin Man. She explained that the agency has joined panel discussions, hosted presentations about creativity and provided campaigns as case studies for the BA course.
Tin Man hopes its involvement will help graduates “join agencies and in-house roles as prepared as possible”.
“Understanding the theory behind communications is great, but often it’s only when PR graduates start a job and get practical experience that everything falls into place,” said Sharp. “We can help advise on some key elements that students would benefit from understanding in advance of going into the industry – this will hopefully be invaluable for employees and employers alike.”
Kamiqua Lake, chief executive of Coldr and LCC visiting lecturer, is also a member of the advisory board.
“It’s clear there is much to gain from better collaboration between industry and universities,” she said. “Students can be more prepared for a career in PR, better understand how the theory supports the day job, and have more exposure to the breadth of specialisms and range of sectors they can choose to work within.”
Lake added that “agencies that have fostered relationships with universities and students largely offer unpaid internships with no focus on professional development”, but believes “securing an interview, finding a paid internship and building a network should not be a leap of faith”.
“There is much that needs to evolve if we want the next generation of talent to succeed.”
In-house PR practitioner Qazalbash, who is an LCC BA PR graduate, believes the advisory board will hugely benefit students on the course. He said: “Having an engaged board that consists of practitioners who are still in industry and represent a vast spectrum of disciplines will give accurate representation of the industry, arming students with an edge and flair that is crucial to have, especially at entry.”