Equinox Communications, one of Wales’ leading communications agencies, has launched a new internship programme, the ‘Equinox Academy’, for graduates looking to gain valuable experience in the industry.
The agency, which has offered work placements to students and graduates for more than 17 years, has now formalised the offer for interns for 2014 in a unique partnership with the MA in International Public Relations & Global Communications Management at Cardiff School of Journalism, Media & Cultural Studies (JOMEC).
According to a recent report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills*, 45% of employers believe experience is a significant factor when selecting candidates and 29% state it as crucial. However, only 27% of companies offer work experience programmes to enable candidates to gain the experience they need to get hired.
The ‘Equinox Academy’ ensures that interns experience work across a wide range of clients during the three to six week placement. They are trained in the key areas of work relevant to the communications industry, from press release writing and event management to stakeholder engagement and social media strategy. The scheme not only benefits graduates but also the company, four members of the current team completed an internship before securing a permanent position with the agency.
Kate Sullivan, 32, Associate Director at Equinox Communications, completed a 10 week internship in January 2004 during her post graduate diploma in Public and Media Relations at Cardiff University and joined Equinox as an Account Executive that summer.
Kate said: “A good internship programme can provide excellent foundations for a career in communications and prepare you for your first job with skills you can’t learn in the classroom.
“Having started with Equinox following my internship, I’ve worked my way up through the ranks and I like to think of myself as an advocate for the scheme. The more businesses that offer practical work experience opportunities the better for the industry as a whole as candidates are stronger and more prepared for the workplace.”
One of the most recent additions to the Equinox team, Sophie Harris, is a postgraduate of the JOMEC MA in International Public Relations & Global Communications Management. She began a six week placement at Equinox in June 2013 and started work as an Account Executive the following October.
Sophie said: “The experience at Equinox was very challenging but rewarding. I was thrilled to be offered a permanent role three months later. I’m confident that my time as an intern at the company helped me to achieve my career goals because it gave me the unique opportunity of proving myself professionally ahead of interviewing for a permanent job.”
Equinox has already accepted four Cardiff University students on to the ‘Equinox Academy’ for 2014, with a further three placements available.
Nick Mosdell, Deputy Director MA International Public Relations & Global Communications Management, said: “Cardiff University is committed to enhancing the employability of our students and it’s fantastic to build this kind of relationship with a multi-award winning consultancy like Equinox. The interns get a great opportunity to work closely with the team and make a genuine contribution to a wide range of projects, not just gain experience of photocopying and making tea!
“Equinox also helps us in developing the course to suit employers’ needs and all members of the team are guest lecturers. It’s a real opportunity for skills development and also for the teaching team to showcase the quality and enthusiasm of our students.”
All Equinox team members play a part in the Equinox Academy through mentoring and sharing their knowledge with interns to ensure the time spent with the agency is valuable. At the end of the programme, interns will have a better understanding of an entry level role in a busy agency, hands-on-experience in writing and social media, an insight into both consumer and business integrated campaigns and knowledge of different communication disciplines.
Equinox director, Zara Cottle, said: “Here at Equinox we believe that helping the development of graduate careers is of vital importance to the progression of the communications industry in Wales.
“Cardiff University provides dedicated, enthusiastic and talented candidates for the Academy who always produce excellent work during their time with us. We’ve reaped the rewards from our internship programme with a succession of interns becoming permanent members of the team.”
If you’re an enthusiastic graduate with a passion for communication, the Equinox Academy could be the perfect next step in the progression of your career. If you would like to apply for a place on the scheme please contact Emma Salo, account director at Equinox for more information on: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 0292076 4100.