The Public Relations (PR) industry is all about how organisations communicate their message and differentiate themselves or simply just ‘stand out in the crowd’ (www.cipr.co.uk). But the industry faces many challenges from building the profession to ensuring the workforce is well trained and representative. The PR industry is not unique in having a profession, which does not fully represent the communities it serves. Now in its second year, the high profile Brunswick Intern Programme seeks to address this imbalance in an innovative way (http://bit.ly/6rHyUn). Brunswick (www.brunswick.com), a leading communications company, and unicornjobs.com (www.unicornjobs.com), which specialises in placing graduates in PR jobs, designed the 10-week training programme for recent black and minority ethnic graduates. The six participants receive formal training, meet leading practitioners and participate in practical PR projects.
So how did this year’s six interns fair? Well, judging from their weekly blog (http://bit.ly/8zFqo7), Charlotte, Claude, Jenard, Junior, Param and Tina have certainly had access at senior level in major media and PR companies. By week 10, they had even been able to escape London for the cities of Leeds and Bradford and brush up against the Yorkshire Dales (www.yorkshiredales.org.uk). The two-day Yorkshire experience was instigated and arranged by Northern Lights PR (www.northernlightspr.com) and even included a trip to the Northern Ballet (www.northernballettheatre.co.uk)!
Having spent the morning with Pace (www.pace.com), the set-top box manufacturer based at Saltaire, the World Heritage Site (www.saltairevillage.info), their afternoon focused on innovation. The interns experienced a three-hour innovation workshop at Bradford University School of Management (www.brad.ac.uk/management) designed to help them recognise and develop their innovative thinking. As leaders of the future Charlotte, Claude, Jenard, Junior, Param and Tina will all have to initiate and manage change. Perhaps they have been given a head start with the Brunswick Intern Programme but their ability to bring about change will be based firstly, on the combination of attributes, background, experience, network and values they each have now and secondly, how they set about enhancing their innovation skills.
Judging from their performance at Bradford, change is on the way! Each has the potential to stand out in the crowd.
STOP PRESS Final blog from interns
Reflections on the trip to Bradford University School of Management (by Jenard)
“After a great morning session at the Pace headquarters in Saltaire, we were driven to the Bradford University School of Management, where we had a truly inspirational session with Dr Nigel Lockett. He delivered a master class on innovation.
During the class he showed us the different ways he might conduct sessions like this. For example, he used techniques like role-playing to promote interaction between the people in the class and himself as the lecturer.
But more importantly, he gave us an unique insight into “innovative thinking”, demonstrating such thinking wasn’t something that only a special few could take part in. Rather, it was about strategically looking at the world around you, and having the gusto to go ahead and put new ideas into action.
He gave us some great examples of how just one person in a company can recognise an improvement or innovation that can be made, and how that person – even if they fear others disagree – can push ahead, make a change, and initiate growth for both their company and themselves. I definitely took away the idea that I can be a leader too.”