Cicero/amo launches Virtual Work Experience Programme in partnership with Speakers for Schools

by Parisa Namazi, Director of Talent

Cicero/amo has launched its Virtual Work Experience Programme (VWEX) in partnership with Speakers for Schools, welcoming 26 students to spend a week with the Cicero/amo team to learn about and nurture the skills required in the corporate communications sector. 

During the period of 27 July-31 July, students across Years 10-12 spent each day learning more about Cicero/amo and the type of work we undertake for clients through engaging in tasks including:

  • Individual and group tasks based around a mock request for proposal (RFP)
  • Hearing talks from Cicero/amo employees about the skills involved, the characteristics needed in their roles and the value provided for clients across our corporate communications, UK public affairs, EU public affairs and research practices
  • Listening to a keynote address from Cicero/amo Co-Founder and Speakers for Schools speaker Iain Anderson about his experience in the sector and his advice for those starting out
  • Engaging in career panel talks
  • Taking part in a practical CV workshop and job application with our Head of Talent, among other tasks.

Cicero/amo’s VWEX programme is designed to offer an understanding of the PR and public affairs sector and the skills that will help students flourish, and to inspire those who are not typically offered the opportunity to gain this type of experience. The programme has a focus on ensuring it is inclusive and accessible to all underrepresented groups, with the intention of running the programme at least once a year in order to broaden the opportunities available to students from diverse backgrounds. By running the programme virtually, Cicero/amo is delighted to be able to reach and inspire a larger group of students in comparison to a traditional in-person work experience model.  

VWEX forms one of a range of Cicero/amo initiatives as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and follows a company-wide ‘day of reflection’ across Havas-affiliated offices in response to the death of George Floyd and the subsequent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Speakers for Schools, which was founded in 2010 by ITV’s Political Editor, Robert Peston, aims to end educational inequality by giving all young people access to the same prestigious networks available to the top fee-paying schools in the UK. It targets the schools with the highest needs and at the sharp end of social and economic disadvantage in order to create inspiration and ambition in young people and to play a major role in ending educational disadvantage.

Commenting, Iain Anderson, Co-Founder, Cicero/amo, said: “With the ongoing pandemic set to have a huge impact on the career prospects for our country’s pupils, I am thrilled to launch our Virtual Work Experience Programme to provide our insights into the world of corporate comms – and have been hugely impressed by the engagement and interest of the students who have been working with us. 

“Our partners at Speakers for Schools run an incredible initiative that really helps open the eyes of pupils to the opportunities that they often do not know exist, providing real insight into how young people can use their skills and attitudes to flourish as they look ahead to shaping their careers, and we are all hugely grateful for their support.”

Following the work experience programme, students submitted the following (anonymous) feedback:

  • “The placement was really insightful about the industry and the different roles that you can choose from.”
  • “It was amazing thanks to everyone involved I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
  • “Although this isn’t a career path I’ve really considered, the information and insight I gained throughout was definitely very valuable, and has allowed me to understand a lot more about this industry. I’m very happy to have had this opportunity.”
  • “Definitely worth the time I invested, the placement leaders were extremely helpful and enthusiastic throughout. [I’m] Looking forward to apply to other opportunities”
  • “This was very insightful and I’m very grateful for this opportunity”
  • “Thanks for the opportunity, it gave me an amazing comprehension on how the workplace is, the skills needed and how myself can elevate my business[…]”
  • “It was so informative and helpful. I had a lot of anxiety about the future and job prospects and this has eased my stress a huge amount!”
Parisa Namazi

Director of Talent