Teams of final year undergraduate students competed for the prize, delivering a creative pitch in response to a real life brief provided by Grayling. Students were tasked with setting up their own ‘mock’ PR agency and devising and delivering an engaging PR pitch for a new shopping centre in the north of England.
Unity PR, comprising Hannah Palmer, Jessica Collier, Rebekha White and Jessica Embley impressed the judges with their interpretation of the brief and were voted the winning team.
More than 35 students took part with three groups shortlisted by Leeds Beckett lecturers to pitch to Grayling North.
Grayling North, an award-winning Leeds-based PR agency, has worked in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University for over 20 years to professionally develop students. In addition to the award, the agency gives the winning team a cash prize.
Jessica Embley said: “We really enjoyed pitching and are delighted to have won the Grayling North PR Prize. The competitive pitch module provided an exciting and valuable experience and it's fantastic that our team will graduate having won such a highly-acclaimed agency prize."
Christine Newton, Director at Grayling North, added: “The Unity PR team were the worthy winners. The team fully understood the brief and had the right strategic approach brought to life with workable and stand-out creative ideas. We very much value our partnership with Leeds Beckett University and it’s important to us to help develop and support the PR stars of the future.”
Shirley Beresford, Senior Lecturer in Public Relations and Communications at Leeds Beckett, said: “The Grayling Prize for the Competitive Pitch is our most prestigious public relations in practice initiative for PR students. These young professionals are at the start of their careers and the opportunity to pitch to a 'real life' client on a live campaign is a priceless experience.
“Leeds Beckett PR students are recognised as some of the UK’s finest. Our 25 year exceptional employability rate speaks for itself and our PR alumni work is at the highest level of UK and international business. The Grayling Prize is a key initiative to support students’ aspiring careers and we thank them once again for their continued support and affording us this special partnership with the PR industry.
“This year’s final year students are at the top of their game, with many already completing a year’s placement at high-profile companies such as the Discovery Network, Apple and Porsche. Unity PR were very deserving winners! I'm delighted for them.”
Currently celebrating 25 years of Public Relations education, Leeds Business School offers one of the longest-running PR courses in the UK and enjoys an international reputation as a leading centre for public relations education. For more information about the range of PR courses at Leeds Beckett University visit www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/pr.
Photo: Back row: Jessica Embley & Shirley Beresford. Front Row: Hannah Palmer, Christine Newton & Rebekah White. Jess Collier (not pictured).