PR industry among first to launch Master’s-level degree apprenticeships

The apprenticeship will be designed to ensure apprentices can become press officers, communications managers or account managers

The PR industry is bidding to become one of the first sectors in the country to offer new master’s-level degree apprenticeships under new reforms introduced by the government.

Industry body, the PRCA, has applied to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop the new qualification in partnership with universities following reforms that enable employers to create apprenticeships specific to industry needs.

It is expected that the new qualification will be open to both graduate trainees and recruits who have completed a lower level apprenticeship. The 12-18 month course will enable them to gain a master’s degree in public relations at the same time as working and earning while they learn.

The apprenticeship will be designed to ensure apprentices can become press officers, communications managers or account managers. The costs for the degree apprenticeship will be met two-thirds by government and one-third by employers.

Accompanying the new master’s qualification will be a new standard for the existing PR apprenticeship – designed to help school leavers become junior consultants – to reflect the feedback on the first two years of the PR apprenticeship programme.

The existing apprenticeships launched in late 2012 and have seen 120 apprentices taken on in two years, according to the latest figures released by the government.

Francis Ingham, director general at the PRCA, said: “Introducing PR apprenticeships has helped agencies and in-house teams diversify the way they recruit junior staff and grow their own talent. Since late last year the PRCA has been accredited as an official training provider, meaning we can ensure the quality of the courses apprentices in the industry take meet our own exacting standards.”

“The apprentice agenda is not simply a numbers game, it is about quality as much as quantity. Degree apprenticeships bring together the very best of higher and vocational education, and allow apprentices to achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree, whilst training on the job. The initiative sees industry bodies such as the PRCA, employers and universities joining forces to develop the highly skilled workers our economy needs.”

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