The CIPR Internship and Work Placement toolkit

With only eight weeks left at university, my hunt for a job in PR is fully underway. In the past three years, the need for graduates to gain experience in their chosen field has dramatically increased, but with this has come a number of issues.

The problems surrounding unpaid internships and work placements have caused major controversy during the past year, with Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg both supporting the move to fairer access to internships in a social mobility strategy.

Yesterday, as a way of tackling these issues, the CIPR launched an official guidance toolkit. Defining the various types of placements, setting out what both employer and student should expect from the time and with guidance on areas like pay and expenses, the document hopes to tackle some of these issues. The aim of the document is to support organisations in creating internships and work placements that will allow those wishing to start a career in PR to gain as much practical experience as possible.

During the past three years, I have been fortunate enough to gain a variety of practical experience in PR, with time spent both in-house and agency. Both placements, although unpaid, have been successful with no negative issues arising. However, I know from speaking to others on my course that this is not always the case.

Leaving university with no job to go to is a scary prospect to be faced with. Having the opportunity to gain practical experience during a six-week placement after graduating can give many students a helping hand. However, when faced with travel costs of £40 per week, little or no structured training from the organisation and duties above and beyond student capabilities can the placement really give students the vital experience needed, or does it only allow students with parental funding to flourish?

Hopefully, the document set out by the CIPR will help to diminish the chances of this happening and lead to a fairer and more  productive internship system.

I understand that, as a student, my perspective on work experience will be very different to people currently working in the industry and I would be interested in hearing what others think. To view the document in full, click here.


Top 100 Graduate Employers

I’m now just over half way through the first semester in my final year at University and this week the pressure has really been upped. The assignment deadlines set nine weeks ago are quickly creeping up and this week I pitched my PR proposals for my two practical project clients, the time really is flying by! Before I know it I will be handing in my final pieces of uni work and heading for the Stadium of Light ready to graduate and move into full-time employment.

The thought of going out and finding a job really began to hit home a few weeks ago, there is constant talk in the media about unemployment figures amongst young people and I think near enough every one of the 335,000 people who will graduate in 2012 all have the same fears about leaving university in at least £9000 worth of debt and having no job to move into.

Yesterday I picked up a free guide at university called ‘The Top 100 Graduate Employers’. After looking through the guide and the graduate schemes available I began to feel a little bit better about the prospect of getting a job after leaving university. In the year 2011/2012 recruiters expect to increase their graduate intake by a further 4.6percent, news to both mine and the other 335,000 2012 graduates.

I found the guide really helpful, I didn’t even realise some of the firms mentioned in the guide had graduate schemes! Each of The Top 100 firms has an individual page with details of the number of graduate opportunities they have available, the location of the vacancies, the areas they recruit in as well as information late starting salaries, benefits, application deadlines and information on the roles and how you can apply.

I would recommend anyone graduating next year to try and get a hold of one of these guides- they are definitely worth a look! More information can be found on The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers website. Good luck to all 334,999 of you!