NHS and other healthcare employers seeking to expand their communications capability should review the new Government-approved PR and Communications Assistant Apprenticeship (PRC-AA).

Announced at Easter, the new entry-level standard was developed by a group of ‘trailblazer’ employers in collaboration with the London-based UK PRCA (Public Relations and Communications Association) and the UK Institute for Apprenticeships. A second mid-range (University Level 7) standard is also currently in progress.

The PRC-AA standard and scheme replaces the existing PR Apprenticeship programme.  Launched in 2015, it has helped over 250 apprentices to train in organisations ranging from the NHS to SME PR and communications consultancies.

The new programme places more emphasis on planning and evaluation in PR and communications. It also incorporates a broader range of communications skills including latest social media channels and production of non-written content.

According to CHCR’s deputy director, Dr Bill Nichols, who contributed to the standard’s development: “Apprenticeships offer a structured and compelling way for all organisations to grow their own talent, increase diversity and stay fresh with the latest trends. We hope that the NHS, in particular, will find this a beneficial innovation.”

Approval of the new standard follows a rigorous three-year sign off process. Simon Francis, chair of the developing employers’ group and founder member of Campaign Collective, commented: “It has not been easy getting the bureaucratic process to meet the demands of employers, but I’m delighted that the PR & Communications Assistant apprenticeship is now ready for delivery by training providers.”

Details are available at: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/public-relations-assistant/