I was shocked to receive an email this week from Pearson in Practice about its PR Apprenticeship Scheme, which I have been talking to them about for a while now. You might remember I wrote about this a couple of months back after visiting the Yorkshire apprentices and being very impressed. At Prohibition we have a dedicated internship programme and we work with a number of the local Universities to support our students and give them good quality experience. So I was genuinely interested to see how we could help even younger people that were keen to enter the industry without being crippled with debts.

The idea behind the scheme was after working for a prolonged period with PR companies, or in-house, the apprentices would have the necessary skills to walk straight into a job in PR, saving them the time and cost of studying for a degree.

The company said in its statement:

Pearson has taken the very difficult decision, subject to a consultation period with staff, to exit this business, and is now planning for the closure of Pearson in Practice following an orderly wind-down procedure.

Pearson will be in discussion on your behalf with several Further Education colleges and other training providers with a view to transferring your learners seamlessly to their programmes.

Because of this, young people who were wanting to forge a career in PR may now be lost to do other sectors. With the rise of University fees to around £9,000, many young people  simply cannot afford to pay for tuition on a three-year course, and now one of the other routes of getting into our industry has been taken away from them.

I think that this is a real shame and I was rather shocked that I haven’t seen anybody talking about this anywhere either online or in the traditional media. The scheme was an effective one, which allowed young people to gain real, prolonged experience of working in the industry and I for one was a fan.

How do you feel about the scheme being cancelled? Do you think its a huge loss to the industry?

**UPDATE: I have now spoken with the comms team in the PRCA and it appears that the PRCA is actually looking for a new training provider to fulfil these apprenticeships now. Apparently, they were very surprised by Pearson’s actions but they are working hard to ensure more people can become apprentices, so all is not lost. I did express my concern that prior to this blog post I hadn’t read or been notified about the PRCA actually continuing it. I have suggested they look to obtain the mailing list that Pearson has created and contact all of the agencies Pearson has built relationships with. There are around fifty apprentices in the PR sector but there are many more agencies considering apprentices – so I hope the new provider maintains the quality of service on this as I don’t want to see it falling flat. More details on the PRCA’s position are here.

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.