16 February 2016: In an Australian first, Illawarra-based PR consultancy LBPR, in collaboration with the Faculty of Business at the University of Wollongong (UOW), is launching Catalyst, a student-run PR and media consultancy that will give final year UOW PR students’ true “hands-on experience” before officially entering the PR industry.
Catalyst will operate within LBPR, and is the brain child of LBPR Managing Director Lisa Burling, and PR Major Co-ordinator at UOW, Dr Lois Burgess. Both women share a common vision to nurture young PR talent and ensure graduates leave tertiary education with a solid ‘real world’ understanding and examples they have worked on, which in turn reassures potential employers they are marketplace-ready.
Catalyst also offers Illawarra businesses and charities the unique opportunity to access affordable PR support, under the watchful eye of senior, award-winning consultants. A number of local businesses have already signed up as Catalyst clients, including the Lotus Wellbeing Centre, Anya Jones Mediskin Clinic and Coastline Printing.
Ms Burling says she is incredibly excited this initiative and collaboration is an Australian first: “PR is a growth industry and Catalyst is essentially an internship on steroids – it’s an incubator for star talent, which in turn is creating jobs here in the Illawarra, so these students stay here. LBPR has clients nationally and internationally so the opportunities we can offer are just as good, if not better, than consultancies in major cities. It also means we can help local businesses and charities gain greater exposure in a cost effective, mutually beneficial way. It’s a win-win-win.”
Dr Burgess comments: “Catalyst was born out of a strong partnership between Lisa and myself around a shared passion for delivering the best prepared graduates to the PR industry and for keeping talent local. What Catalyst offers our PR students is unique and strengthens the work done over the past 8 years in the PR major at UOW
- it furthers the ‘hands on practical experience’ opportunities we have been able to bring to our students through partnerships such as this”.
Public Relations Institute of Australia CEO, Graham Le Roux adds: “We know Lisa and LBPR well here at PRIA, particularly with Lisa’s win in the micro consultancy category of the New South Wales Golden Target Awards State Awards for Excellence in 2015. She is an inspirational member of PRIA and it’s fantastic to see experienced communicators, such as Lisa, team up with university programs to ensure tomorrow’s PR graduates are prepared for the challenges that lie ahead in our fast paced and ever changing industry.”
Lisa adds: “When I was at university studying PR, there wasn’t anything that allowed students to truly run the show. At Catalyst, students will sit in the LBPR office and have their own clients – it’s the best of both worlds for Illawarra businesses and charities as they can access inexpensive PR support with a professional helping hand.”