Birmingham City University student Jarrod Williams has been crowned top of PR in an initiative designed to nurture Birmingham’s creative talent and find the next generation of PR professionals. Jarrod, aged 21, battled against scores of other entrants to win the PR category of B Hive 2011 and prove his worth as the regions top PR student, taking the prize of 2 months paid work experience with some of the Midlands’ top agencies.
Students from across the region were briefed to create a campaign aimed at promoting Birmingham as a culinary destination, with shortlisted entries pitching to a Dragons Den style panel of seven top industry professionals including representatives from PR Week 150 consultancies Willoughby PR and Grayling.
The scheme was launched in 2009 and sees Jarrod, a Final Year BA (Hons) Media and Communication Student, become the next in a line of some of Birmingham’s brightest and most creative young communicators. In an industry focused on setting the standard for internships and work experience, Jarrod will join Seal, Grayling, McCann and Leader for a two week paid placement across the summer.
Jarrod has also been invited to take part in workshops lead by Graduate Advantage. Previous winners have gone on to secure full-time jobs with their placement agencies.
“I was extremely excited when my name was read out as overall Winner in PR” says Jarrod, who now has his eyes on the CIPR Young Communicator award. “I can’t wait to get involved at all my placement agencies. The contest was tough, and I was nervous during the pitching stage as I was up against peers from my own course. I think B Hive is a fantastic opportunity for those looking to get into PR and is great was to gain more experience and take that first step up the career ladder”.
Jarrod also takes part in a number of other PR workshops. ‘I think the key to getting into the industry is doing as much as you can and ensuring people learn your name. I’ve attended a number of CIPR workshops, for both students and PROs, and sat alongside people with decades of experience. It’s not all about having the money to go and do unpaid work in London, the midlands industry is thriving and as long as you actively interact with local PRs, you’re sure to be snapped up in no time.
Recognised as the Midlands’ most innovative graduate scheme, B Hive aims to encourage the region’s creatives to stay in the city when they finish university and was devised by creatively focused recruitment agency Pitch Consultants, with the support of Business Birmingham and Graduate Advantage. The competition also offers placements in 5 other categories; Marketing, Advertising, Graphic Design and Web.
Neil Rami, head of Business Birmingham, said: ““The calibre of entries this year, as ever, was extremely impressive and is testament to the fact our universities are home to a huge amount of creative talent. ”With over 12,500 digital and creative companies operating in the region, an increase of 30% since 2005, Birmingham’s creative industries are thriving. The B-Hive competition is a key tool in retaining our young talent in the region, by demonstrating the vast amount of opportunities open to graduates in this exciting sector.”
Ollie Purdom, Director of Pitch Consultants, who has over eight years experience recruiting within the creative sector said: “This year we upped the ante with six more placements on offer and hope to continue to grow B-Hive for 2012, providing more opportunities for students wanting to break into this competitive sector.
“It is incredibly difficult for students to get their first break in the creative industries, regardless of the economic climate, however, it has become more evident that those wishing to pursue a career in marketing, design or PR need to realise that their academic achievements might not be enough to secure a job straight after university.
“B-Hive provides bright and determined students with the opportunity to prove themselves to panel of leading employers and thus fast track their way into the industry. At Pitch we are committed to working with the universities to reinforce this message and encourage more students to take part in schemes such as B-Hive.” For more information on this years B Hive scheme, visit www.bhive-creative.com.”