The True Value of a PR degree…

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Hello there and welcome to my first RAWcous blog! First of all let me introduce myself, I’m Gem and I’ve been a member of the lovely RAW team since March this year.

After a four year Public Relations Degree at Leeds Met, I came out with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in PR and a year's worth of experience at Shepherd Engineering Services under my belt.  Engineering Services I hear you cry, yes it sounds rather dull but I can assure you when you are climbing the tallest building in the North, (Bridgewater Place) in your heels and fur coat to get the perfect shot for the press – things were not! 

In my first blog I wanted to explore the myths of PR and the value of the PR degree. Champagne sipping, fashion frenzied glamour girls or hard hitting strategic business honchos?  I’d like to think PR is a perfect mix of both but with ever demanding clients and the need to prove PR as a valuable business tool, I’m afraid it’s more the latter.

Now when I said to my dear friends studying ‘proper’ subjects I was doing ‘PR’ I received the typical jibes; ‘Is that even a course?’, ‘Oh a Mickey Mouse course’ and the list goes on, however they couldn’t have been more wrong. 

In my first year I tackled subjects such as writing for PR, Organisational Behaviour, The Impact of Corporate Culture on Communication, Crisis Management and Internal Communication…followed by a further three years of intensive learning, including Finance and PR which still sends a shudder down the spine! 

The good thing about the Leeds Met PR course, is not only the talented tutors who have worked on creative PR campaigns for Virgin, GHD and Apple, but the year in industry that they push upon you like a super injunction on a footballer.  In my year at SES I was juggling key developments across the UK, getting Prince Charles to open the Royal Festival Hall in Harrogate and attending property awards more than I was getting hot dinners.  I developed, not only as a person, but as a full rounded PR practitioner on the way to world domination (ok not quite).

After my placement year I went on to complete my studies with the final crescendo, the dreaded dissertation. After many sleepless nights and slogging away I completed by 25,000 word novel entitled; “The impact of internal communications on corporate culture and ROI to co-ordinating key stakeholders”.  After I managed to tell people the title without passing out, I graduated with my 2:1 BA (Hons) in 2009. 

The degree has opened doors for me; people recognise the Leeds PR degree as being one of, if not, the best in the country. Many have a misconception about PR in which I am constantly battling.

This is not a girly industry and if people looked around they would notice the big hitters; Freud, Borkowski and dare I even say Max Clifford, are key players who mean business.  So now when I ask what my friends are doing after their History of Art degrees and they say they are doing some PR I cannot help but smirk. 

Since my degree I have utilised my PR skills on campaigns for clients such as the NHS, IVG (owners of the Gherkin), Knight Frank, White Rose Office Park, Priority Sites and fashion retailer Warehouse. At RAW I have the pleasure to work on some of the most successful Shopping Centres in the UK as well as other exciting projects such as City Rocks!

All hail the PR degree!

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