The Real Value Of Work Experience

by Laura Berry

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

public relations work experienceHolyrood Partnership found itself in the middle of a twitter debate last week on the value of work experience and whether or not interns should be paid.

That got us thinking: what is the real value of work experience? 

Here at Holyrood Partnership, we try to offer as many work experience places as possible to young PR talent. Rather than setting them loose on the filing cabinet and coffee machine (kettle in our case!) we like to get them involved on our client campaigns – all fully supervised of course.

Work experience for us is about helping young people develop their skills and giving them a real opportunity to experience first hand what its like to work for a fast moving and diverse public relations agency. Interns are treated as though they are junior account executives and are given the opportunity to work on a campaign from the initial creative brainstorms, to the executing of the ideas, drafting press releases, organising photo calls and selling in stories to the media.

We want our interns to experience the same sense of success and elation that we feel every time we get our client in the news, or reach 1,000 followers on twitter and this is where the true value of work experience lies, that sense of pride when you know you have helped your client achieve success.

I don’t think we are alone here in saying that while we would love to offer interns paid placements, in order to make them as accessible to as many people as possible the reality is that it just isn’t possible.

You may think that PR companies don’t care about the fact that you have to take on an extra job to fund yourself through your placement, but they do and a clear sign that they do lies in the quality of the training they are offering, in return for your help.

And if you want proof of the value that there is to be gained from work experience, you only have to look at our current team, all of whom have put in several weeks and in some case months of work experience to land the job they wanted.

Our junior account executives, Gaynor Daniel, Victoria Ancell and Aimee Lawrence all spent time working with various PR agencies and in-house PR teams to develop the practical skills, that would stand them in good stead when it came to landing a job.

I even started here on an un-paid work experience placement, which I was fortunate enough to be offered a job at the end of it, which has since lead to a promotion and winning Young Communicator of the Year.

So for those who are put off by work experience, because it’s unpaid, all I can say is give it a try. Not only will you gain valuable practical skills, but you will also be able to show any prospective employees that you are willing and motivated to start a career in PR even if that means working for free!

Getting that top paying job may seem like a long way off when you’re doing it, but trust me it will provide one hell of a large step on the career ladder for you!

For anyone who is looking for a work experience placement or internship this year, please email your CV to [email protected]

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