Today I attended an event which was organised and presented by a number of young PR apprentices from the Leeds area. I went to see how good they were and how the scheme worked in practice and if I am honest I was very impressed.

I sit on the CIPR committee here in the North and this is because I strongly believe in helping to develop young people who want to work in PR, which is why I was so interested in this relatively new concept. At Prohibition we have a dedicated intern-programme that we run to help develop local undergraduates of the PR Degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. You may have seen a few sharing their experiences on our blog. I did the BA (Hons) in Public Relations course myself many years ago and so I know how useful a degree can be to get a real job in PR. As part of the degree in Leeds the students must get a work placement of around one day a week in order to gain some real experience to help their development.

However, as much as I sing the praises of higher education and the local degree I do still have some reservations on the relevance of every single module they do. I believe the best stuff from that course could be removed and delivered in just one year if someone worked really, really hard. I also believe that the best experience anyone can get is genuine work experience in public relations. So for my degree I did a full year placement with British Energy at its Nuclear power station in Heysham.

So I am putting this question out there to you guys – what is better, a graduate or a PR apprentice with a full year’s work experience that has some classroom training? Would it really matter to you if an employee didn’t have a degree if they were still bright and talented?

I am genuinely interested to know what people think from both in-house and agency.

About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.