Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Future of the PR Industry - The Apprentice's View

This is a blog post by Jessica Kirby - PR Apprentice, Cirkle
Arriving at the PRCA National Conference 2012, I have to admit I was quite apprehensive as I was not entirely sure what to expect from this well-regarded event. Walking through the doors of BAFTA, a sense of professionalism was immediately present and calmed my nerves; the PRCA could not have chosen a more elegant, smart venue. When the conference was underway, I became aware that it was much more than PRCA members meeting to share opinions, it was a visionary, forward-thinking presentation of what the industry could, and should be.
As an apprentice and having just entered this diverse, evolving industry, it was a fascinating insight attending the conference. The guest speakers were excellent with valuable points, and the audience were active in giving opinions generating engaging debates at times. There were intriguing points made by Jane Boardman, Talk PR and the key speaker, Peter Barron, Google. Something that remained with me was the idea of PR evolving from a craft to a true profession. It is apparent that the industry recognises that a change needs to take place for PR to finally be taken seriously and not disregarded due to its origins. It was suggested that a possible explanation for the lack of credibility of PR could be due to task assignment within agencies. The talent that PR people possess is not being applied to the right job and hence, not creating the best outcome. 
Something that interests me is the concept of the ‘digital native’. Being young, I have grown up immersed in the technological world, however, this does not mean that I, and the young people in the PR industry should be responsible for everything digital. There are plenty of people in the PR industry with extraordinary creative skills, there is nothing to stop agencies harnessing that and making it digital. It is all about the ability to apply – taking something on paper and making it accessible and utilising it in the digital world. I have found whilst working at Cirkle, that they are all in tune with digital and the potential it possesses, and that it is a combination of the ‘old school’ creative combined with the new ideas that results in such innovative campaigns. An interesting topic was the possibilities that can become a reality by using the free tools provided by Google, such as Google Fusion and Google Correlate enabling agencies to create visuals that engage their audience instead of numerical eye sores on a page.
A consistent theme was the call for talent in the industry. The PRCA has understood this and designed the apprenticeship which I am participating in, providing an opportunity for both the PR industry and young people. A new era of PR professionals is being created through the innovative training programme that the PRCA and Pearson in Practice have generated. The scheme enables me to have priceless experience in the workplace, whilst being taught the necessary tools, resulting in a nationally recognised qualification.

Being given the chance to attend the PRCA National Conference was truly an invaluable experience, being able to hear from experts in the industry. I felt that the topics being discussed were fundamental to the industry’s progression and ultimately will be the responsibility of the next generation of PR professionals. I feel that I have been filled with information that can be taken and applied to the work that I do everyday. The change in the industry is not about a sudden, jolting change but about a gradual progression. 
To find out more about the Public Relations Higher Apprenticeship scheme please go to

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