News release: University-backed comms agency celebrates client wins

Media and Promotion Office (2003) News release: University-backed comms agency celebrates client wins. Other. University of Central Lancashire, Preston.

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PR agency UK Progress is celebrating a full portfolio of client wins six weeks ahead of its
official launch.
The unique agency will be run by final year public relations students working from an
office at the University of Central Lancashire, and has already attracted 20 clients, mainly
based in the North West. The student consultants will practice under supervision and will
be assessed on the quality of their work as part of their degree.
'Our public relations graduates already have an enviable academic reputation, but this
project will really demonstrate that they are capable of applying their knowledge at the very
sharp end of consultancy practice, in projects deliberately chosen for the challenges they
bring,' says Paul Elmer, director or UK Progress and a senior lecturer in Applied
UK Progress will complete project-based consultancy across an initial client portfolio that
spans major public sector accounts, manufacturers, legal and medical sectors. Student
teams will specialise in soundly-researched strategic communication, and will develop
tactical solutions that include publishing.
'By integrating a real agency into their final year we will effectively be preparing secondjobbers
for the marketplace,' says Paul Elmer. The idea is simple enough: we are taking
the principle of work experience, and adding to it the quality control and rigorous
assessment that has won Preston it's leading position PR education. The end result is a work
experience that delivers more learning to the students, more skill to the clients, and is a first
in the UK.'
Clients pay a fixed fee of £2k that helps offset the costs of enhanced IT, office space and
expenses such as travel. UK Progress will operate as a full-time agency during the
academic year, with student teams using mobile technology including a fully wireless
computer network and university-provided mobile phones in order to maintain a constant
service without the need for a full suite of offices, a move designed to cope with varying
volumes of work, with the potential for more than 100 student consultants working at peak
The main drive this year has been in specially targeted sectors, ones where we know that
students will get a challenge,' says Elmer. 'But I want to see that grow to include the charity
and SME areas, where we can help build a better society and help organisations to
innovate, and we are already partnering a similar student consultancy that has been
operating in Utrecht for some years, so we hope to offer some students experience in
international Consultancy, too.'
Lectures and seminars are replaced with team meetings where student teams draw on the
support and knowledge of a senior consultant, able to guide their developing practice,
supplementing their fmmal learning on subjects such as applied research and strategy.
Senior consultants, who are specially selected from the lecturing staff for their consultancy
experience and practice, add the experience of applying that knowledge at the sharp end,
and of dealing with clients, in addition to more traditional teaching roles such as directing
students towards books and other learning resources.
6 August 2003
Note: For more information about UK Progress call the agency director Paul Elmer on
07714 105095.

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