The Taylor Bennett Internship Programme

Brief: 

The Taylor Bennett Foundation PR training and internship programme is a 10-week full-time training course in public relations, designed to equip participants with relevant skills to work in the PR and corporate communications industry. Participants receive formal training, meet leading practitioners from the communications industry and participate in practical PR-related projects. They also receive extensive career coaching.

The problem addressed by the campaign: 

The talent pool in the PR and communications industry does not reflect the ethnic diversity of the UK population. This is because of lack of access to the industry at entry level, because of cultural issues (immigrant parents prefer children to become doctors, accountants, etc.) and because of lack of understanding and social mobility issues (many immigrant communities are disadvantaged).

Solution: 
  • The training scheme was originally promoted to students through the employability unit of the university in London with the highest ethnic minority population, the University of East London. Taylor Bennett also wrote personal letters to the entire senior faculty, asking them to refer the programme to their most promising students.
  • To encourage applications, Taylor Bennett has reached out to other universities with high ethnic minority populations and also runs a promotional campaign via its website and print media.
  • Taylor Bennett has also engaged the industry's leading trade publication, PR Week, in appealing for mentors to support the programme. The United Kingdom’s top 100 PR agencies have been individually approached for support.
Impact: 
  • The Foundation’s primary objective is to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to enable them forge successful careers in PR.
  • To date, 70% of the participants have gone on to secure further work experience in the PR industry.
  • Alumni of the programme have gone on to secure work experience, contracts and permanent positions at: Brunswick, Cantos, Cision, Clareville Communications, CNN, Cut Communications, Edelman, Financial Dynamics, Freud, Garden Court Chambers, Glue Isobar, Grayling, House PR, Ketchum, Lansons, Lewis PR, Macbeth Media Relations, Mumsnet, MS&L, Newham Council, Octopus Communications, Pepsico, Racepoint Group, RX Mosaic, Save The Children, Talk PR, Thames London Gateway, Top Shop, The Discovery Channel, The Observer, The Olympic Legacy Company, Unity PR and Weber Shandwick.
Why has it worked?: 
  • Taylor Bennett provides relevant, useful and practical training and experience to prepare students for work in the PR industry. Taylor Bennett worked with external partners to ensure that the right mix of training was delivered. They also emphasized interpersonal skills training for students, for example, the importance of eye contact and a firm handshake during an interview.
  • Commitment from staff at Taylor Bennett and at the lead sponsoring PR agencies was vital, as was support from the wider PR and media industries. The media, communications departments and other PR agencies are aware of the lack of ethnic diversity in the industry and have supported the Taylor Bennett Foundation in combating this inequality.
Conclusions and Recommendations: 
  • Selecting the right partner to ensure interest in the training programme was essential. Effective recruitment practices guaranteed that strong students would enter and graduate from the programme.
  • Overall, the course content and design has proven very effective in mobilizing talent from ethnic minority graduates.
Foundational Issues: 
Widespread unemployability
Level of Collaboration: 
Level 2: Collaboration across organizations within a country
Region: 
Europe
Economic and political context: 

The British PR industry lacks ethnic diversity. Taylor Bennett partnered with the University of East London to ensure access to a diverse student population.

About the Author(s): 
  • Taylor Bennett is a corporate communications firm based in the UK. Taylor Bennett operates across Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. In the US, Taylor Bennett works jointly with Heyman Associates.
  • The Taylor Bennett Foundation is being established as an independent registered charity to ensure the expansion and continuity of the programme, and to enable its work to have a wider profile.