Grooming young graduates in the act of public relations through internship
To provide a platform for bright graduates with communication background to build a career in Public Relations and Digital Communications, Sesema Public Relations in conjunction with the Alima Atta empowerment fund recently launched the Corporate Communications Pitch Competition (CCPC). The maiden contest was concluded recently. And all those who participated were asked to write an essay on how ‘Public relations agencies have transformed brands in Nigeria and the key drivers that have made it possible’. After a look into the entries submitted by over 100 applicants, five contestants were selected. In the second phase of the contest, the five participants selected were given a Public Relations brief to develop a communication plan that will engage consumers on the need to take drinks without preservatives and position Wilson’s Lemonade Drink, the parent company, as the vital alternative in the soft drink sector.
Unlike the first phase, the five candidates were made to present their pitch before a panel of industry experts among whom were, Mrs. Habiba Balogun of Habiba Balogun Consulting, Mrs. Sade Onyia; a management consultant for multinational firms, Mrs. Tampiri Irimagha-Akemu, MD of Sesema PR among others. Each of the candidates was made to explain their pitch after which there were questions from the jury.
After a rigorous process of interrogating the applicants and the content of their pitch, Onoriode Edafe a graduate of the University of Port Harcourt took home the grand prize of N130,000 and a six months internship at Sesema Public Relations, while the first runner-up Ibukunoluwa Oyegbesan from University of Bradford, UK clinched the N70,000 cash prize and three months internship at the firm.
Although the initial plan was to reward the best two candidates with internship and cash reward, due to the convincing pitches of the five candidates, the jury recommended that the top four should enjoy internship while the top two gets cash reward along with the internship.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of Sesema PR, Tampiri Irimagha-Akemu said that the competition was initiated to continue the legacy of the founder of the firm, Ms. Alima Atta, a foremost PR Guru who dedicated a greater part of her professional life, grooming new entrants into the PR landscape and giving them a head start in the industry.
“We are happy that Sesema PR has marked another year delivering expert PR services. We will continue to develop programs and youth empowerment initiatives that would ensure that we help young people that are passionate about Public relations. This is in line with our CSR objectives and contribution to the growth of the PR and Communications sector and landscape.
“We are really impressed by the level of creativity and technical capabilities displayed by each of the contestants; they have made us realize we are indeed pursuing a worthy cause; that is why we have decided to extend the internship opportunity to four (4) contestants rather than just the winner”. According to her, the organization toed the line of grooming entrant public relations practitioners because it has over the years noticed the gap between practice and the skills that young graduates bring to the work place.
Habiba Balogun, a member of the jury, after the screening, described the project as a good one, noting that the maiden edition was a fantastic start, as the last five candidates were very impressive, besides displaying very high sense of professionalism in spite being young communication graduates. According to her, she was also impressed with the confidence and presentation skills of the last five applicants evaluated just as their pitch was enriched with appropriate research and complimentary argument.
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