So most university students get that a year’s placement in industry could be a good thing but we don’t really understand what it does or what it will give us, do we? I decided to take a placement in my home town of Guernsey between my second and third year of my Leeds Beckett University PR with Journalism degree. That’s how I ended up at Orchard PR as a temporary ‘Orchard pip’.
The question for most is – is an industry placement effective? I certainly asked myself whether I had learnt anything and whether I should have just finished my course this year. Would this industry placement aid me or hinder me when returning to complete my course?
Well now I can’t imagine a world where working in the industry for a year hinders anything. For two years prior to joining Orchard I was learning about different aspects of PR; each module covering specific skills but two years of theory is different to hands-on experience and practice – as I soon discovered!
To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect working at a Channel Islands PR agency – even if it is the biggest. I was slightly apprehensive going into the role; knowing that Guernsey is a finance hub I was curious as to what kind of PR I would be exposed to but Orchard (and my island home) surprised me. Working as an account executive in such a tightknit community (and a team of 14) has taught me many things far beyond those I was learning on my course. Here’s a few:
- A phone call goes a long way, pick up the receiver before typing out an email – especially to journalists
- Telling a story in a different way will gain you traction with the media
- Don’t use comically large cheques for anything
- PR is not 9-5
- Communicating for businesses goes well beyond traditional media
- Arguably, the most important thing I learnt was that PR is the strategic delivery of communications by experts and goes well beyond writing copy
Whether you’re studying PR or anything else, getting first-hand experience in your chosen field will give you that extra something; a new dimension to the way you think and what you know. If you’re lucky you get to work with a great bunch of professionals and know that you have been part of creating something worthwhile.
PR can take you many places – the first place it brought me was home.