GUEST POST: Is there a place in PR for BME graduates?
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One of Tinderbox Media’s partners, Northern Lights PR, has launched a paid internship scheme to give five black and minority ethnic graduates hands-on experience of working in corporate communications and public relations. I think this is a great idea: historically, minority communities have been under-represented in our industry. I was also delighted to spend an afternoon with the interns, leading a workshop on business blogging and social media marketing, and found them to be an impressive, sharp-thinking bunch. We invited one of the interns, Shaeeb Tanwir, to contribute a post about his experiences. (You can also read about the internship scheme on the Northern Lights blog.)
Over to Shaeeb:
This internship was a new experience to say the least. Nothing I’ve done at university can compare to the efficiency and tenacity needed in working life, and this internship showed me that better than I could have ever imagined.
It was a bit of a culture shock for a student to be honest, walking in with task after task prepared for us to do, a multitude of new perspectives on situations and actions we had never previously encountered. But this also gave us the opportunity to learn new skills; that is after all what we came to do; to grow as people and learn to adapt to new situations.
The first day involved an exercise where we had to brainstorm based on a business scenario, a sort of ice-breaker if you will and a chance to gauge the intellect of the people you will be relying on as members of YOUR team for the next three weeks. Needless to say, I was impressed!
We then proceeded after lunch to learn about what makes a good PR release; something which even for Marketing students was an intriguing experience. We learnt about the relationship journalists share with PR agencies and how the communication and timing between the client, PR agency, and journalists are the key factors in ensuring a successful campaign.
Tuesday was a new experience in the sense that we had to meet with the marketing team from Northern Rail at a rather posh hotel in Leeds (something that was adding to the nerves!) however, once we began talking to the people concerned the fear of the unknown was being alleviated, they were people just like us and at times with ideas not as good as some of ours; it showed us our worth in our own eyes and hopefully will be the catalyst in us gaining in self confidence and subsequently showing through the project that we were deserving of the opportunity given to us by Northern Lights PR.
Finally, I’m glad you decided to read my post – so thanks! This is also an opportune time to thank Northern Lights PR for giving aspiring students from BME communities a chance to learn the ropes of PR.
Now it is left to be seen if six recent graduates from minority backgrounds are worthy of a career in PR, or if the whole program was just wishful thinking. What do you think?