The PR prescription for avoiding irrelevance

Posted on 10/07/2012


When one of the biggest names in PR warns that the industry faces becoming irrelevant, it’s probably a good idea to listen.

And Lord Chadlington, founder of Shandwick and chair of Huntsworth group of PR agencies, gave just that warning last night (9th July).

Chadlington’s prescription for preventing this irrelevance lies in tapping into the talent created by more diversity in the PR industry. And a key part of increasing this diversity, he argued, will be the introduction of PR Apprenticeships – something this blog has been calling for since the first post back in 2009.

List of PR Apprenticeship employers (from

The new PR Higher Apprenticeships, developed by Pearson in Practice and the PRCA, have the potential to change entry into the PR industry for good. And with the support (see image) of big names like Cohn & Wolfe, Grayling and Ketchum Pleon, through to mid-size agencies like Frank, Kaizo and Kindred and smaller players such as Tribe – not to mention in-house teams like John Lewis – the PR set ups which don’t integrate Apprenticeships into their recruitment process will be left behind.

And that’s where Lord Chadlington is spot on.

If the PR industry does not reflect society it will become an irrelevance.

And any agency boss which does not embrace diversity and the opportunity presented by the new Higher Apprenticeships programme, which is now open for more employers to sign up to, will risk their company facing a similar fate.

Declaration: while I currently advise the National Apprenticeship Service on communications, this post has neither been instigated nor approved by the Service or its partners and reflects a personal opinion.