First step into PR

How do you get your foot in the door at a world-renowned communications agency? What if you don’t have relevant experience, know about the industry or anyone in comms? 

BCW, one of the world’s largest communications agencies, wanted to help talent overcome those challenges. The company partnered with The Taylor Bennet Foundation to create its Propel programme – an internship with a difference. The programme’s ambitions were twofold: To increase the proportion of under-represented talent in the industry and create opportunities for those who may not have considered a career in comms before. 

This year BCW recruited four candidates for its Propel programme through The Taylor Bennet Foundation. There was no need for CVs nor prior experience; candidates were simply asked to answer a question such as “If you were to curate an exhibition about curiosity and creativity, what would be in it and why?”. The programme is designed to cultivate and kickstart careers in communications by equipping the Propellers with the tools and experience needed to learn and grow so that, one day, they can become the next generation of communications leaders.

In 2023, following a workshop at BCW’s offices overlooking the Thames, four candidates were offered places on the programme. 

Propellers are not thrown in at the deep end when they start. Instead, there is monthly training, Propellers have mentors they work with individually and they learn about the tools and skillsets needed for success before getting started on account work. 

Hear from BCW Propel Assistant Account Executives Salvin Alabi, Francesca Busari, Kehinde Aileru and Lavender Ma as they share what their experiences of BCW’s Propel programme so far. 

Francesca Busari

“My time on the propel programme has been one to remember. As I’ve embarked on this journey my resilience and pursuit of growth have heightened. Countless learning opportunities have increased my knowledge of client relations, the media landscape and the invaluable role PR agencies play in building reputable brand and business presence. BCW has played a pivotal role in my personal growth. My advice to anyone starting out would be to make the most of the opportunities ahead.”

Kehinde Aileru

“Creating stories or messages that inspire and have the potential to drive change has always been a passion and yet until this programme, I found it hard to ‘jump’ into the creative industry.

“I am grateful for the programme and for Taylor Bennett Foundation’s determination to reshape the PR/communications industry by making it accessible to all. This experience has provided me with so many opportunities, from helping spread awareness of those living with serious health conditions, to working directly with clients and being a part of writers’ rooms and pitches. And there’s more to come – I’m excited about what’s ahead! 

“Joining this programme is one of the best things that’s happened to me. It never occurred to me that I would find an industry that I would click with so perfectly. The team at BCW really want you to thrive at whatever you are interested in.”

Lavender Ma

“After graduating from LSE, I chose BCW because its Moving People platform resonated with me. Since joining the healthcare team as a Propeller in March, I have experienced daily account work, enjoyed research tasks for BCW WHY and now I’m working with the consumer team as well.  The training, the people, the memories have all taught me that we all want the same things, we want what’s best for our family, friends, colleagues, and clients, despite our differences. Although I’ve learned a lot, this is just the beginning. I’m more experienced but I still have much to figure out.” 

Salvin Alabi

“Weston H. Agor’s quote, “Making mistakes simply means you are learning faster” best sums up my Propel experience.

“Public relations is a fast-paced industry. The programme has allowed me to confidently make mistakes and learn hugely from them. I have surprised myself with my capability to handle several things at once and knowledge I didn’t know I had. My advice for the next Propel cohort is to take this programme, absorb as much knowledge as possible, be confident in asking questions and most importantly, in making mistakes and learning from them.”

For more information about BCW’s Propel programme visit Opportunities at BCW | BCW (