As I approach the end of my month-long internship at Pagefield – facilitated by the Taylor Bennett Foundation’s Summer Stars Programme – it is fair to say that this has not been a regular work experience programme. This is for two reasons. First, unlike other internships, my time at Pagefield has been entirely virtual – out went the early-morning train rides for office meetings and in came the (marginally) less arduous commute from my bed to my desk for Zoom calls. Secondly, this internship has not been regular because – compared with previous internships – working at Pagefield has stretched and challenged me in ways I did not expect.
In a very short space of time, I have been exposed to a wider range of industries and given a greater deal of responsibility than I ever expected. In doing so, I have developed both my skill-set and a genuine passion for pursuing a career in PR and communications after graduation.
There are three main lessons that I will take from my time at Pagefield.
1. The value of being proactive
In a busy, fast-paced agency like Pagefield (and especially when working from home) it can be very easy to become the stereotypical ‘thumb-twiddling’ intern who waits passively for work. However, what this internship has impressed upon me is the value of proactivity.
Through continually seeking out new work and projects to get involved with, I have been exposed to a wide range of industries and tasks – everything from analysing CO2 emissions data for an e-scooter company to researching political stakeholders for a major games business – which has both challenged me and enhanced my professional skill-set in equal measure.
2. The importance of written communication
Although this may have seemed obvious in an industry with the word ‘communications’ included in the title, working at Pagefield has demonstrated why good written communication skills are so important. The ability to write with precision and clarity has proven to be an incredibly important skill when working in a collaborative and fast-paced environment. Being able to digest complex information and then regurgitate it in its simplest form is a skill that clients seem to value enormously.
3. The need to think commercially
Working at Pagefield has made it clear that the best PR and communications work is done when there is an awareness of the major issues, challenges and opportunities facing a business – be they political, legal or social. This internship has highlighted to me that PR does not exist in a bubble, but is intertwined with politics, society and the law. The bedrock of any successful campaign therefore requires you to fully immerse yourself in that client or prospect’s world.
When I applied for the Taylor Bennett Foundation’s Summer Stars Programme (aimed at increasing diversity in the PR and communications sector) I did not know much about the industry, or the skills required to succeed in it. I therefore feel incredibly lucky to have been placed at Pagefield, especially given the financial strain the industry is under at the moment. In the last three months I’ve learnt that an agency can be professional and fast-paced, yet also incredibly welcoming. More broadly, it has cultivated a passion for PR and communications. I look forward to building on what has been a very enjoyable and stimulating internship in the coming months and years!