If the PR industry is to receive the respect it deserves, we need to attract the best people - people with ambition, imagination and a spark of originality. And this is where the PRCA apprentice scheme comes in.
By definition, the school leavers who move on to apprenticeships are cut from a more colourful cloth than their sixth form colleagues. They’re greedy for success, and keen to get their career underway rather than put it off until they’ve finished full time study.
They have courage in their convictions. Their decision not to go down the university route is often not well received, thwarting the expectations of their schools, (who want to boast about pupils heading for Russell Group monoliths), and the ambitions of their parents.
They’re also independent in their thinking. They’ve chosen to break away from the herd, often to the bewilderment of their friends, who measure their own success in UCAS points.
Offering a young person the chance to take a first step on a ferociously competitive career ladder is hugely satisfying on a personal level. We had over 60 applicants for our last apprentice role, and it was heart-breaking not to be able to offer a position to some truly outstanding youngsters.
But I genuinely believe all three of our apprentices have brought as much to the business as we have given them. In a fast-moving world, its useful to have the perspective of youth to help us challenge our attitudes and our behaviours. Perhaps more importantly however, a responsibility to help newcomers learn about the business has also helped us to look closely at all our business practices, and make sure we really do work to the highest possible standards.
On-the-job training from the PRCA coupled with practical experience means that each of our apprentices has developed at phenomenal speed, and is quickly ready to take on more responsibility. These are the people we need in PR.