Light shines on ethnic minority interns

A paid internship for black and minority ethnic graduates, run by Northern Lights PR, is helping regional businesses including Hallmark and Northern Rail to reach potential new customers from diverse communities.

Northern Lights interns: Gabriel St Aimee, Nafisa Shafiq, Mohammed Waheed and Liane Clarke

The Harrogate consultancy is working in partnership with Bradford University School of Management, industry experts and businesses to give black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) graduates hands on experience of working in corporate communications and public relations – a sector where people from these communities have historically been underrepresented.

Hallmark’s Communications and PR manager Alex Glen said:

“As part of Hallmark’s commitment to the local community, the Northern Lights PR internship gave us a fantastic opportunity to work with a creative group of young people and to strengthen our understanding of the many ways different cultures celebrate key occasions.

“The interns have also been able to gain firsthand experience of the day to day workings of our business so it has been a very positive and worthwhile experience for all of us.”

During a packed three weeks, five interns attended a range of master classes led by industry experts covering media relations, press photography, social media in business and blogging.

Guest speakers included Saeeda Ahmed from social enterprise Trescom, who led a Jobskills workshop, Karyn Fleeting from Tinderbox, who ran a session on social media and Charlotte Renwick from Bradford University who spoke to the group about working as part of an in-house PR team.

The five were also tasked by marketing and communications professionals to come up with creative ideas to encourage more use of the railways and a new range of greetings cards celebrating special occasions for different cultures.

Commenting on the internship experience, Gabriel St Aimee said: “The public require companies to communicate effectively with them and I hadn’t realised what a skill that is.

“Meeting so many people, from all walks of life and professional backgrounds, willing to share their expertise, has really opened my eyes to the possibilities for my own future.”

The five interns are, Gabriel St Aimee, Nafisa Shafiq, Shaeeb Tanwir, Liane Clarke and Mohammed Waheed.  With degrees in a variety of subjects, including History and IT the extra skills and business experience offered by the internship has increased their career options.

Northern Lights plans to offer a similar internship for BAME graduates in 2011.

You can read more from the interns on the Northern Lights blog.

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