Taylor Bennett Foundation x The PHA Group

After a number of years providing ad hoc support to the Taylor Bennett Foundation, we formed a more established partnership in 2021 which has involved hosting masterclasses for school leavers, university students, and graduates, providing mentoring opportunities to aspiring talent, sharing job adverts with their extensive network, attending careers fairs and networking opportunities, and hiring interns via the Summer Stars scheme. 

The Summer Stars scheme kicks off each year with a three-day bootcamp, preparing interns who have secured placements via employer-led training sessions that set them up for success in their new roles. In 2022, four of our employees headed to the London College of Communication to host a session about the day in the life of a PR, which was well-received by the attending Black, Asian, and minority ethnic talent of tomorrow.

After the bootcamp, two Summer Stars joined PHA for a three-month placement following an efficient recruitment process through TBF. After briefing them on the roles we were hoping to fill in our Corporate and Consumer PR departments, they provided us with a talented shortlist of interested individuals who were well-prepared, passionate, and ambitious; qualities that we seek in all of our employees. Following an initial call with our Talent team, their one-stage interview with the relevant teams involved discussions around their skills and interests, as well as the opportunity on offer and what they were seeking in their next employer. We then made two offers which were quickly accepted, and before we knew it, the Summer Stars had joined us and settled into their placements.

Our experience as an employer on the Summer Stars scheme, and partner to TBF, has been both insightful and rewarding. The three-day bootcamp complimented our existing induction schedule by arming interns with the information and initial tools they needed, from detailed knowledge of the media landscape to a deeper understanding of what is expected of them from a professional standpoint. As a result, our Summer Stars interns were eager to get stuck into agency life from day one, enabling them to carry out tasks such as brainstorming, campaign planning, and press release writing from the get-go. From the two interns that we hosted in 2022, one secured a permanent Junior Account Executive role in our Consumer & Lifestyle PR department, while the other returned to university following a CV and application workshop with our Talent team, and a promise to stay in touch regarding future job opportunities upon graduation.

We take part in the Summer Stars scheme each year in order to support the next generation of Black, Asian, and minority ethnic talent who are keen to develop their knowledge and skills within the communications space by providing them with genuine training, development, and mentoring opportunities with support from TBF, our brilliant employees, and our hands-on Talent, People & Culture team. Whether the Summer Stars are experiencing their first taste of the industry, or any job for that matter, or want to build on previous experience through one of TBF’s other programmes, we want to provide outstanding opportunities to those belonging to underrepresented groups who may never have previously considered a career in communications, while helping to ensure that the industry is representative of the society we live in, as well as accessible to everyone in it.

As an employer committed to providing an equal, diverse, and inclusive workplace for all of our employees, the Summer Stars scheme acts as an important feeder into our own internship programme, PHA Accelerate, which focuses on attracting, developing, and retaining talent belonging to different racial and religious groups, educational backgrounds, the LGBTQ+ community, and/or those living with physical or hidden disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. As a result of our continued efforts, we are proud that 20% of our employees started their careers at PHA as interns, 50% of interns stay with us in permanent roles, and 75% of interns hired in the last two financial years belong to at least one of the previously mentioned underrepresented groups. We have enjoyed the ongoing, mutual support with the Taylor Bennett Foundation, and believe that our respective internship programmes complement each other well, so we recommend that other employers follow in our footsteps if they haven’t already. For any aspiring interns who may be reading this, check out the quote below from one of our fantastic former Summer Stars interns, and now current employee, Sarah Lietzow:

I joined The PHA Group as a Consumer and Lifestyle intern through the Taylor Bennett Foundation, a charity that exists to encourage people from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to pursue a career in Communications. After recently graduating from a PR and Communications degree, I was intrigued to start my internship with a PR agency that has a relentless commitment to creative campaigns which connect people and purpose. If there is one thing that struck me very early at The PHA Group, it’s the friendly working culture. No one was too busy to say hello and introduce themselves, and people took time out of their busy schedules to chat and get to know me. From my first day, I was treated as a permanent member of the team and given the opportunity to work on various accounts. I was involved in new business brainstorming sessions, planning PR campaigns, and writing pitches for magazines such as ELLE, GQ, and Harper’s Bazaar. Besides work, PHA knows how to have fun by organising after-work drinks and sports events for employees. From the workshops to the team collaboration, my time at PHA has been enjoyable and enriching. I have learnt a lot in a small period, and every day has been a new experience. I want to extend my thanks to everyone at PHA for their support, and for helping me make the most of this opportunity. If you are looking for a PR agency that helps you to develop yourself professionally and cares about your wellbeing, PHA is the place to be.

If you would like to get in touch with The PHA Group’s Talent team to discuss their experience of the Summer Stars programme as an employer, or to find out more about their live and upcoming job opportunities, please contact:

Ruby Kite, Talent, People & Culture Manager.