Category Archives: Diversity

Opening the door can have a huge impact

My dad died two years ago at the age of 65. He could be a difficult man and I often see some of his not so pleasant traits in me – pig headedness, competitiveness, and a need to be in control. But he could also be kind, generous, and mischievous.

He was wired that way for good reason. As a toddler he had polio (anti-vaxxers, stay away because I will not entertain your rubbish – a vaccine would have improved his life – and lengthened it – immeasurably). As a result, his right leg didn’t work, he wore a calliper and in the final years of his life was confined to a wheelchair permanently. He knew that the odds were stacked against him and when that happens being pig headed is an asset.

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6 ways to work with the Taylor Bennett Foundation

If you’re an employer in comms and PR, either agency side or in-house, it’s likely that diversity is up there on your corporate agenda.

I’ve written before on different initiatives which can help you tackle diversity issues in your organisation and thought now might be a good time to highlight all the ways you could get involved specifically with the Taylor Bennett Foundation.

The Taylor Bennett Foundation was established in 2007 to improve access to the PR industry for young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). We do this through an award-winning ten week traineeship programme, mentoring, and summer internship placements. Over 150 PR employers support these programmes by donating, hosting visits, offering mentors, and offering work placements.

Sponsoring a programme
Each year we run a number of 10 week PR traineeship programmes for BAME graduates. 97% of our alumni are employed and over 60% work in communications. These programmes are a large commitment for the sponsors which previously include Brunswick, Finsbury, FTI Consulting, Talk PR, Edelman, MHP, The Red Consultancy, Charlotte Street Partners, and Standard Life Aberdeen.
If you would like to discuss sponsoring one of these programmes email sarah@taylorbennettfoundation.org

There are also a number of other ways to get involved:

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Filed under Careers, Diversity, PR, Recruitment

Women’s Suffrage and the movement’s influence on government policy

It’s the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave women over the age of 30, with certain property qualifications, the right to vote in national elections in the UK for the first time (UK Parliament, 2016). How much of that law was influenced by the Women’s Suffrage Movement is hotly debated among academics and historians.

The term ‘women’s suffrage’ is often incorrectly used to mean ‘Suffragette’ but in fact Suffragettes were the more militant wing of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) lead by Emmeline Pankhurst. Suffragists using more law-abiding methods under the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), led by Millicent Garrett Fawcett, did not describe themselves as Suffragettes and there is a question over whether the more famous, militant actions were as effective as the quieter lobbying by the NUWSS (Purvis, 2013).
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Filed under Current Affairs, Diversity

Taylor Bennett Foundation appeals to PR community

TBF TraineesThe Taylor Bennett Foundation has been around since 2007, and is widely regarded as being at the forefront of taking action on the lack of ethnic diversity in the PR industry – in other words, we get results.

In the world of non-profits we’re considered a small charity, with an annual turnover of less than £300,000 a year. Much of our funding comes from our generous PR agency sponsors but that only covers about half the cost of running the organisation, our training and mentoring programmes, and supporting our alumni. We have to fundraise for the rest. To expand our programmes and increase the number of young people we help, we have to fundraise even more.

So when Stephen Waddington offered to brainstorm ideas for fundraising in his influencer session at #PRFest, my colleague Anne jumped at the chance to ask if the Foundation could be the focus of that work.

As you’d expect with a room full of creative comms people, lots of ideas came out of that session. Some we have used successfully in the past, some we have previously discarded as non runners, but one idea in particular struck us as something we’d not yet had a bash at and so, we’re giving it a go.

The Taylor Bennett Foundation 10th Anniversary Fundraising Appeal was born.

We’re aiming to raise £50,000 by the end of the year with our Just Giving campaign which will enable us to continue to run four training programmes next year, expand beyond London and launch a profile raising campaign in BAME communities to promote PR as a viable career choice.

Everyone I talk to about the Foundation tells me what great work we do, that the industry needs us, that the graduates need us and that we are making a difference not only to the diversity in communications, but importantly offering opportunities to young people who would otherwise not have access to PR as a career.

We have honed our programmes so that they get fantastic results. Over 70% of our alumni work in communications. Over 700 graduates have attended our assessment days and had detailed feedback to help with their job searches.

We have the skills, knowledge, passion and experience to deliver brilliant teaching, mentoring and work experience to BAME graduates, but none of it is possible without the funding.

So we are asking you, the PR industry, to demonstrate your commitment to improving diversity in the industry by digging deep and giving to our fundraising appeal. Your donation will make a real difference to a young person’s life.

Thank you.

You can donate to the Taylor Bennett 10th Anniversary Fundraising Appeal here.

This blog has also been published on #PRfest

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Filed under Diversity, Graduates, PR

Practical ways to increase diversity in PR

 

This week The McGregor-Smith Review on race in the workplace was unveiled.  The headline of the report is ‘The time for talking is over. Now is the time to act’ and I couldn’t agree more.

The Taylor Bennett Foundation is cited in the report (p27 & 42) as a best practice case study and it says “The Foundation is a model for how other industries can engage with the imperative of diversity and the challenge of recruitment.” Quite right too. Continue reading

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UnAwards 2016 – what next?

A couple of weeks ago I went to Birmingham for the first time ever to attend the Comms2Point0 UnAwards 2016.

UnAwards are not like the usual glitzy Grosvenor House affairs.  This was much more casual – held in a cinema with sweets to watch a movie with. It was a pretty full house and it was really clear to see that the comms industry is thriving with some really interesting and innovative campaigns being show cased.

To top it all off, I won the 2016 award for diversity, sponsored by the NUJ. Continue reading

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Have you ever heard of ELATT?

Times Educational Supplement Further Education Awards

Have you ever heard of ELATT? I hadn’t heard of it either until, in June 2014, I saw an advert in the Evening Standard for trustee vacancies.

It turns out it’s a rather amazing education charity based in East London. East London Advanced Technical Training offers free courses in IT skills, English and employability skills along with work placements and apprenticeships with various employers to migrants, refugees and the long-term unemployed in East London. Continue reading

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Filed under Careers, Diversity, Personal