Story by Greg Ellis and the Illawarra Mercury
12 February 2016
Wollongong public relations consultancy LBPR and the business faculty at University of Wollongong are joining forces to launch what could be Australia’s first student PR consultancy.
Catalyst is helping keep skills in the region by nurturing young PR talent to help local businesses and charities.
It is giving final year UOW PR students such as Alyss Phillips hands-on experience before they officially enter the PR industry.
Catalyst is operating within LBPR in Keira Street and is the brain-child of its managing director Lisa Burling and UOW PR Major co-ordinator Dr Lois Burgess.
The two share a common vision to nurture young talent and ensure graduates enter the workforce with solid ‘real world’ understanding.
And it helps reassure potential employers that graduates are marketplace-ready.
Catalyst is offering businesses and charities a unique opportunity to access affordable PR support.
Lotus Wellbeing Centre, Anya Jones Mediskin Clinic and Coastline Printing are among the first clients giving the students an opportunity to show what they can do with the help of LPBR staff such as Tammy Potter.
Dr Burgess described it as a win-win-win for students and local small business and charitable organisations.
“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,” she said. “What Catalyst offers our PR students is unique and strengthens the work done over the past eight 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”.
Ms Burling said when she was at university studying PR, there was nothing like this that allowed students to run their own show.
“At Catalyst, students will sit in the LBPR office and have their own clients,” she said.
“It is the best of both worlds for Illawarra businesses and charities as they can access inexpensive PR support with a professional helping hand.”