PRCA remembers Francis Ingham, with new initiative to open doors to the profession, working with Taylor Bennett Foundation

PRCA, the trade association for the PR, communications and public affairs industry, this weekend marks the first anniversary of the death of its Director General, Francis Ingham, who led the organisation from 2007 to 2023 and was known for his efforts to make the industry more accessible and to support early-career practitioners.

A professional development programme to break down barriers that prevent people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds from thriving in the PR and communications industry, has been launched today by the PRCA and Taylor Bennett Foundation (TBF). The Professional Development Francis Ingham Fund will support participants in gaining the practical, mental and cultural knowledge, skill set and network required to grow a successful career in public relations.

TBF is a UK charity that encourages diverse talent from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds to enter the PR industry.

The programme will involve:

  1. Professional and personal development masterclasses to support candidates entering the PR workplace
  2. A fund to support those who need assistance with attending events or with work attire
  3. Networking – working alongside other organisations to nurture and foster networking opportunities for diverse talent
  4. PRCA speaking and networking opportunities, accreditation, training and more.

Natasha Ferguson, Chief Operating Officer at the Foundation said: “We are honoured to be working alongside PRCA on this initiative. The essence of relationship building is the core of Francis’s character and how he is remembered, which is synergistic with the pastoral care outreach we provide to candidates and alumni. At TBF they know that they contact us any time of the day, and we do the work to assist, mentor or counsel them in finding solutions.

“The Professional Development Francis Ingham Fund will provide us with the opportunity to bring this initiative to the profession for us all to collectively add value to. It takes a village to raise the next generation of diverse future leaders, and I am proud and excited about how this initiative will impact lives nationally.”

James Hewes, PRCA Chief Executive, said: “Francis fought hard to open up the PR industry to people traditionally excluded from it. He was passionate about creating an industry that was open to all, and in which talented people from all backgrounds could thrive. During his life, he campaigned for change and got behind practical measures that mean that our industry has started to become more reflective of the society it serves. There is still a long way to go, and that’s why the Professional Development Francis Ingham Fund is so important. Working with TBF we will be able to open doors to far more talented people, who will enrich our industry. That is a legacy that is fitting for Francis’ memory.”

Details of how to apply for the fund will be announced in due course on TBF and PRCA’s websites.

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