MONDAY 13 SEP 2021 3:05 PM


The CIPR has partnered with the Taylor Bennett Foundation, a charity that supports BAME graduates looking to pursue a career in communications. Together, they have designed the Reverse Mentoring scheme to increase awareness of diversity challenges and drive lasting change within the industry.

The CIPR’s ‘Race in PR’ report revealed that many PR professionals from ethnic communities face significant barriers to inclusion and career progression. Further research from PR Week found that one in five UK PR agencies have no non-white employees at all.

Avril Lee, chair of the CIPR’s D&I network and head of healthcare Europe at 3MZ, says, “The PR industry has a diversity problem and at the heart of that challenge is the need to build inclusive cultures. We called on senior leaders to take responsibility for this and many have stepped up but we know that, understandably, there is often a gap in understanding of experiences.”

Reverse mentoring flips the traditional format by providing young professionals from ethnically diverse backgrounds the opportunity to share their insight and experience with senior leaders. The professionals, with between three and ten years comms experience, will share insight into what it’s like to be a minority in the industry. The mentors will help leaders to understand the importance of allyship, and how they can improve internal culture and encourage new ways of thinking within their organisation.

Melissa Lawrence, CEO of Taylor Bennett Foundation, says, “The mentors are all excited to be part of this scheme – we see it as a great opportunity to have conversations that perhaps otherwise wouldn’t be had for fear of saying the wrong thing or feeling unsure about how to approach a certain topic. As part of broader industry initiatives, we hope this will help the industry move forward.”

The scheme is set to begin in June 2022.