Benefits of PR apprenticeships to ClaremontThe PR industry is set to make history by creating a new master’s-level degree apprenticeship in public relations.

Industry body, the PRCA has applied to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop the new qualification in partnership with universities.

Announced by the Prime Minister, the new PR degree apprenticeships are possible following reforms that enable employers to create apprenticeships specific to industry needs.

It is expected that the new qualification will be open to both graduate trainees and recruits who have completed a lower level apprenticeship. The 12-18 month course will enable apprentices to gain a master’s-level degree in public relations at the same time as working and earning while they learn.

The PR degree apprenticeship will be designed to ensure apprentices can become press officers, communications managers or account managers. The costs for the degree apprenticeship will be met two-thirds by government and one-third by employers.

Accompanying the new master’s qualification will be a new standard for the existing PR apprenticeship – designed to help school leavers become junior consultants – to reflect the feedback on the first two years of the PR apprenticeship programme.

The existing apprenticeships launched in late 2012 and have seen 120 apprentices taken on in two years (including three at Claremont), according to the latest official figures.

We’ve seen first hand how apprentices can become fee earning and valued members of the team from very early on in their development and how they bring a different perspective and fresh ideas to campaigns.

The degree apprenticeship will enable our former apprentices to take their professional development to the next level and extend the benefits of an apprenticeship to the wider industry and graduate recruits.

To ensure the next generation of PR apprenticeships are a success we need as many employers as possible to comment on the proposals.

To help contribute to the development of the new apprenticeship frameworks, you can contact me on Twitter @si_francis.

A new film by the PRCA has also set out the benefits of hiring an apprentice right now. Agencies and in-house teams looking to take on a PR apprentice can visit http://www.prca.org.uk/pr-apprenticeships.