The end of an inspiring day. The six interns arrived from London and have been blown away with all that Yorkshire has to offer.
The day started on a high with Helen Kettleborough, director of communications at Pace plc, leaders in digital TV technology. A real professional, Helen did a whistle stop tour through the breadth of her team’s work from briefing London journalists and analysts to internal communications of a global business.
Helen was very clear about the importance of setting out a plan of action at the beginning of the year and then ensuring that each announcement and press release shows how Pace is delivering against its goals through the year.
The interns were very interested in the new technologies coming out – convergence is the new big thing – and Helen and I both agreed it is useful to hear first-hand how a younger generation is thinking about and responding to technologies. Keeps us on our toes!
Of course, a critical part of good communications is about being innovative, so this is very relevant to people in these careers. Nigel showed how much innovation is incremental – we can all look at a good idea out there and adapt and improve for our own businesses.
Tony Reeves, chief executive of Bradford City Council, joined us after tea and talked about the importance of community cohesion – something that his Council is increasingly seen as a leader in through their Total Place activities.
Tony stayed on for dinner with Nigel and the interns – and Professor Anne Gregory also joined us. She is director of the centre for public relations at Leeds Met University and keen to support this initiative.
There was a lively discussion about how to encourage more diversity in organisations and specific careers. Some of the interns said they had initially been sceptical of this internship and that it might be patronising – and they were also not sure about us launching it in Yorkshire and our motives. I dislike tokenism as much as anyone but everyone agreed that sometimes you have to do something to change things more quickly.
Anne did end the evening with advice to the interns. She warned them that many people will want to recruit them to look good – but they must make sure they genuinely progress in those organisations.