By Toluwani Omotoye.
It is well known that the job market for current and soon-to-be graduates is incredibly tough, this has been made no easier by the current pandemic.
I am a final-year student at the University of Birmingham, studying International Relations. When I entered final year, my first thought was “How am I going to gain any PR experience in a pandemic?”, because experience has become fundamental in being able to successfully navigate the job market.
Although people advise against voluntary experience, I decided to take a chance and reach out to See Media where I was able to shadow on a part time basis for two weeks.
This shortly turned into a formal paid internship programme that they created so I could continue working with them whilst completing my studies. This was the first time they had recruited at the internship level, so it was such an honour to be the first.
I am so grateful to See Media for welcoming me on board. The team genuinely care about my development and I’m gaining invaluable experience. It’s great to be with an organisation that sees the value in widening access to the PR sector by providing work opportunities for students. This is even more so for BAME individuals, like myself.
Research has found that ethnic diversity within the PR sector remains a challenging issue that needs to be addressed. According to the CIPR State of the Profession 2020 report, more than nine in 10 (91%) PR Professionals classify themselves as white and that levels of ethnic diversity are declining.
I am very aware of the situation that faces BAME individuals looking to work in the PR sector which is why gaining experience during university was so important for me. While it may seem daunting, I would encourage students and new graduates to reach out to agencies and companies, even if there is no specific opportunity directly being advertised, because you never know what it could lead to.
In 2019, I carried out an internship through the Taylor Bennett Foundation, a charity that exists to encourage BAME graduates to pursue a career in PR and communications and I must say I am grateful for these organisations that are dedicated to helping amend the ethnicity gap within the PR sector.
Stuart Macdonald, the managing director at See Media, said: “We are thrilled to have been able to create this opportunity to work with Toluwani as our first intern – she has been brilliant to have on board supporting our work with our affordable housing clients.
“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been even harder for students to find work opportunities. We are a small agency but absolutely committed to investing in the next generation of PR professionals and proud to play our part through this internship.”
It’s exciting being with an agency that continues to grow. Recently See Media were shortlisted for three sector awards and won five new clients. They are a full-service communications agency that works with housing associations, local authorities, contractors, and financiers across the UK.
With the success of this internship, See Media want to continue providing more work experience and internships to aspiring PR professionals.
They plan to recruit another intern in the summer.
For more information, please contact See Media at firstname.lastname@example.org