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Tell us about ‘Your Learning Journey’ for your chance to win…

Ann Pilkington | June 27, 2012


We’ve been in the business of providing education, training and career coaching to professional communicators for some time. We’ve met some amazing people along the way working in some interesting roles, all with different experiences to share. What all our students seem to have in common, though, is a desire to learn. What we want to know is where your learning journey has taken you. Inspire us and others with your short tale for a chance to win a Trailfinders gift card to the value of £250.

All you need to do is to post a comment here letting us know in 140 words or less how studying for a qualification has helped you in your career. Tell us how you’ve implemented what you have learnt at work, or if you have been promoted since qualifying.

The PR Academy team will select the three tales it judges to be the most ‘inspiring’. We will then hold a public vote allowing you to vote for your favourite. The deadline for submissions has been extended until 5pm on 26 October 2012.

The PR Academy team’s favourite three tales will be published on the PR Academy website with instructions on how to vote.

The winner’s and other motivating stories will be used as part of our ongoing campaign to encourage continuous learning.

Please read the terms and conditions of entry.

14 thoughts on “Tell us about ‘Your Learning Journey’ for your chance to win…”

  1. I started out as an English degree student and volunteered my services to write for my local paper for free to help boost my portfolio.

    This led me to business journalism where I eventually became group editor of a collection of industry titles. I enjoyed the challenge of uncovering the news behind corporate messages.

    I made a career switch into PR, which encouraged me to complete my CIPR Diploma, a Masters’ Degree in Mass Communication and a Certificate in Management.

    I learned that considering your audience is the most important issue, and two-way communications that genuinely engages stakeholders is the secret of success.

    After 20 years’ experience of working with a variety of companies, I’ve now just started my own PR agency. I have little doubt the biggest challenges are yet to come.

    1. Thanks for your fab entry Mark – just to let you know that we have extended the deadline until later in October, but do watch this space!

  2. My learning journey on public relations began many years ago by undertaking a CIPR Diploma. I had moved across the great divide from journalism to public relations and had begun to realise there’s more to PR life than media relations (but not much more, at the time).

    Journalism was all intros, angles, stats, quotes and stories. A new role in public relations began to introduce alien concepts and terms – stakeholders, audiences, key messages, CSR, budgets and expenses. The Diploma explained all this and more; it sorted out my L’Etangs from my Grunigs.

    Education with the CIPR has helped provide the theory and context, the purpose and direction of my PR career. It has given me the expertise to carry out tasks and counsel.

    The in-house career led to me setting up my own consultancy – – in 2008 and this has gone from strength to strength. As a Chartered Practitioner with the CIPR, I have their education programme to thank for helping shape my professional development.

  3. Following a stint in broadcast journalism I joined Orchard PR as an account executive in March 2010. As a bright-eyed 21 year old, the fast paced world of PR seemed daunting however at the outset I was encouraged to study for professional qualifications through PR Academy in order to broaden my skills and develop my understanding of PR.

    In October 2011, I completed the CIPR Advanced Certificate with distinction and was soon promoted to senior account executive.

    Completing this qualification has made me more competent and confident in fulfilling my day-to-day duties and I have taken on greater responsibility in working with Orchard’s clients.

    I haven’t stopped there. With Orchard’s support I am always looking to develop new skills and as communication increasingly moves online, I’ve undertaken the Digital Communications Certificate to improve my skills in planning and executing social media campaigns.

    1. Catherine, thanks for your entry – just to let you know that we have extended the deadline for entries until later in October – watch this space!

  4. Studying has helped to focus more clearly on what’s important in a PR career. Reducing bad habits and encouraging good habits has increased my confidence and my abilities because I feel I’m in a better position to say: “Trust me, I’m a professional!”

    I can’t say it’s been easy, or that I’ve always enjoyed it, because it’s tough managing family, work and study commitments, but being committed to a challenge and getting though is a huge reward, and you owe it to yourself. Having the support of fellow students and tutors is immeasurable and will get you through. Just ask and be honest if you’re struggling.

    If you’ve had any doubts on whether you’re in the right career, the knowledge you’ll get from your studies will confirm that you are. It’s a fantastic profession.

  5. Having mainly worked in communications, I did the Foundation Award in 2011 while job hunting.

    Months later, I joined a Foreign Government agency although not their PR section. I decided to work towards my goals on 2 fronts.

    Internally, I established a programme of events that I promoted via a mascot, e-newsletters and videos: I was named Employee of the Season and approached by the Director of Internal Communications in Australia. The Embassy’s Green Group contacted me to do a video, and Public Affairs commissioned me to do one ahead of a “Meet The Paralympians” event.

    Outside work, I conceived an exhibition around a comedy filmed in 1960s Italy. I found an Italian-theme venue, linked up with an original Vespa club for the launch: The local press covered the news and I was video interviewed by a popular local blogger!

  6. I began the CIPR Diploma in January of this year, and have since felt more confident in decisions I make. I also feel that my employer takes me more seriously considering me for projects with higher levels of responsibility as I am working to a profession specific qualification.

    As I am at the early stages of my career, I believe this learning journey, even though it is not yet completed, will allow for opportunities that would not have been available had I not chosen to study.

  7. My studies with PR Academy showed that during change employees are highly engaged. The question is how to harness this energy.

    Confident implementing what I’d learnt, I met with senior leaders and explained that they can enhance employee engagement through multiple channels. This is because employees want, indeed expect, high and constant levels of information.

    Senior leaders also need to focus on building trust and developing feedback channels to create a virtuous circle of communication. As part of my studies I constructed a Rich Communications model to illustrate this, which I put into action.

    At the same time as finishing my Internal Communications Diploma I was promoted. I now manage the strategy to keep 5000 employees engaged and motivated during the biggest change programme in NHS history: undoubtedly the most challenging and exciting role in my career so far.

  8. I don’t feel I need a prize or incentive to encourage people to learn it’s something we should just do. My journey as a learner has been quite incredible, after leaving school with few GCSE’s I thought that was it for me.

    Six years ago I enrolled on an Open University course of which I passed this year gaining a 2:1 Hons Degree in Social Sciences. Now that my brain was eager to learn I enrolled on the PR Academy’s Foundation Award earlier this month.

    From someone that didn’t know what PR stood for to talking about pyramids and stakeholders in my work meetings I must say my tutors did wonders to teach so much in just 15hrs. I learnt more here than I did in school!

    I encourage anyone to challenge doubts in their minds… it’s a great feeling.

  9. The ICD course I attended with the PR Academy has made an immediate impact on my career. 6 weeks after handing in my assessment paper I was promoted into the role of IC Manager within my organisation. I truly feel that the syllabus and support, provided by the lecturers and guest speakers, have facilitated this progression.
    The course has also encouraged me to think more critically about communication within my own business. Taking a more reasoned approach to thinking about situations where, in the past, value may have been overlooked.

  10. I take a step on my learning journey each day. Those steps began with a degree in German and English that took me to Vienna where I learned that Viennese German is a language all of its own. My degree gave me a deep love of language that still informs everything I do.

    Another 25 years passed before I jumped back in at the deep end and did a Masters in Applied Linguistics. I got a distinction and felt proud. I’d reached an important academic milestone. Six months later I took the CIPR Internal Comms Diploma to learn the theory behind what I had been doing instinctively for many years. I didn’t get a distinction, but I still felt proud – and more confident. I launched a new online newsletter and it’s a huge success. Next stop? More learning, of course!

  11. I left university in 2009 with a degree and a Masters from a top university. But it was the height of the recession and I struggled to make ends meet let alone start my career. I began to feel increasingly downbeat about my future as I started working in dead end administrative jobs. Nobody was interested in my degrees, what employers wanted was real experience and relevant knowledge. I was interested in PR and journalism and I volunteered for two years to add experience to my CV whilst working. I had just got a full time job at the end of 2011. I couldn’t afford to do an internship to get into PR so I decided I would self-fund a PR Academy course whilst working and hoped this would demonstrate my commitment to the industry and help me to get my first job. A year went by and I kept working, but I started to land interviews in the right area and I knew my skills were coming together to make me a suitable candidate. I have just landed the job of my dreams, a junior position in Communications at a fantastic events organisation. It came as a shock after the past few years. I know that my PR Academy degree went a long way to getting me my first PR role, I’m chuffed my plan worked and I’m really grateful to the PR Academy and CIPR for having flexible study modes and that they are so well-regarded has really polished up my CV. Thanks!

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Maud Davis FCIPR

Maud Davis FCIPR

I meet lots of bright people through PR Academy – many of them rising stars and I am always learning. My workshops are especially lively and I like to use video and encourage learning through collaboration and creation.

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