2021 Summer Stars Internship Programme and Bootcamp - The Recap

We are pleased to share the success of our annual Summer Stars Internship Programme and Bootcamp. Here at the Foundation, supporting our graduate and undergraduate talent pool secure internship opportunities in the PR & Communications sector across various industries with employers, fulfilled the TBF team in more ways than we could have imagined this year.

Starting with over 140 applicants, we have (and continue to) place over 50 candidates into internship opportunities over the past eight weeks. With employers offering internships across the corporate, public affairs and technology sectors, we also welcomed new employers from the financial services, asset management, and charity sectors come on board to support increasing ethnic diversity within the industry.

And that was not all!

Companies like Lloyds Banking Group, Four Communications, Red Consultancy, Hunt & Gather, and others offered not two but up to four and five internship opportunities! For some of our employers, this was because the quality of candidates and the potential they showcased left them with no choice but to offer more opportunities for them to start their careers with them. 

Our Summer Stars Bootcamp took place at the end of June, once we had placed most of our interns, albeit virtually. Each year, we run our three-day Bootcamp for our interns and external junior practitioners to gain an insight into the wide range of sectors and disciplines that the PR & Communications industry has to offer. We had 15 organisations host masterclasses this year. Those like Barclays, PUBLIC and Greenhouse PR also offered internships alongside others like Gemma Bell, Gareth Thompson, and Sarah Pinch, who are masterclass regulars for our Bootcamp!

Day one kicked off with the communications team at Instinctif Partners, who gave our interns an introduction to PR & Communications.  Our interns got a breakdown of the different disciplines in PR and gained first-hand knowledge on cases the team has worked on. Gareth Thompson from the London College of Communications and Director of External Affairs at PUBLIC and TBF trustee Syma Cullasy Aldridge continued masterclasses on the history of PR and the world of Public Affairs and Government. Gemma Bell, from Gemma Bell and Company, spoke about the influence of the hospitality sector and how PR innovates trends. And day one ended with a much-needed conversation for our interns on the importance of representing marginalised voices in the PR & Communications industry, which the Executive Director and Head of UK Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Edelman, Satyen Dayal, brought the first day to a close with. 

Taking day two to the next level was the Chair of trustees at the Taylor Bennett Foundation, Sarah Pinch. Sarah spoke on the PR & Communications industry lessons from 2020; Black Lives Matter and COVID-19. Our interns rounded off the morning session and learned all about financial communications and PR with Associate Camille Ng from the Brunswick group.

Award-winning PR practitioner Kerry Sheehan kicked off our tech-focused afternoon with a masterclass on the importance of technological innovation in the Communications industry. Richard Fogg, CEO of CCgroup, stepped in next and hosted an informative masterclass on B2B tech and shared how his 22-year career began in the industry. Jasmine Athwal from MikeWorldWide continued the B2B tech trend and showcased the importance of the sector and its relevance in PR. Kirstin Wright from Google ended the day by sharing how their small communications team of six managed to navigate through 2020 and spoke to the group about campaigns they had worked on that supported the changes their users faced.

Wrapping up the last day of our Summer Stars 2021 Bootcamp, started with the team at Macmillan Cancer Support, who joined us in the morning to speak on how PR works in the charity sector. Gemma Sowerby from Lewis Group conveyed a fascinating masterclass on how to run a successful international campaign. She spoke on the range of campaigns she has worked on nationally and internationally and her learnings from both experiences. Head of Corporate Communications at Barclays, Tom Hoskin spoke on his transition from working in government to corporate communications, the transferable skills he gained, and lessons learned. The arts and culture team at Sutton delivered an interactive masterclass and showcased campaigns and press releases they had worked for Harper's Bazaar and Rolls-Royce.  Sustainability and Environmental specialists Greenhouse PR closed the Bootcamp with Sunita Ramani and Jenny Briggs, who spoke about the sector, their clients and why ESG is a rising trend in the PR industry.

The Summer Stars Bootcamp delivered what we set out for it to do. Engage, inform and educate our interns to ready them for the world of work in the PR & Communications industry. With all the changes we have experienced over the past 12 months, we are proud of the effort we have seen from employers this year who have stepped up and come forward to do more in increasing ethnic representation in the industry. Long may it continue as we work towards a more equitable industry.

If you are interested in learning more about how your organisation could host an intern in next year's programme or would like to learn more about hosting a masterclass in the 2022 Summer Stars Bootcamp, please reach out to us at [email protected]

By Natasha Ferguson and Konyikeh McLaren