With a focus on mentorship, the partnership saw Waggener Edstrom employee volunteers lead undergraduate and graduate lectures, support the annual SACOMM conference, develop career skills workshops, collaborate on research projects and offer curriculum guidance to the Department of Strategic Communication students and faculty.

In 2011, the partners will invest specifically in the University of Johannesburg’s student community of disadvantaged individuals, who are looking to develop their academic and professional careers in the field of PR and Communications. By offering monthly workshops at the university campus, Waggener Edstrom employee volunteers will mentor a group of high-performing students on topics that range from PR measurement to social media trends. The workshops will culminate in the award of an internship in Waggener Edstrom’s office in Sandton to a top student in the Honours programme.

“Our department has a strong background in the theory and history of Strategic Communication, but what we lacked for years was the support of an industry leader that could bring the practical, business expertise into the classroom and the curriculum,” said Professor Sonja Verwey, head of the department of Strategic Communication. “With Waggener Edstrom, we have found a partner that is committed as much to the students’ growth, as to the sustainability of the partnership for the university.”

As a knowledge exchange between academia and industry, the partnership will help equip University of Johannesburg students with the latest tools and resources to enter the competitive field of PR and Communications, as well as support Waggener Edstrom’s 28 year history of corporate social investment in the fields of education and economic empowerment.

“With South Africa representing one of the most prominent emerging markets in Africa, we felt it was vital to invest in the Communications industry’s future professionals – beginning with undergraduate students at the University of Johannesburg,” said Marcus Sorour, General Manager, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide South Africa. “We have a long-term business interest in seeing these local students succeed as our future employees, clients and industry leaders.”