In the past few years, the PR industry has made huge strides in
developing the quality and range of training and career options open to
graduates. A whole raft of corporations and PR agencies have achieved
Investors in People status and addressed issues surrounding personal
development, to ensure that those who plump for PR can be guaranteed a
career, rather than just a job.
Training can be formal: consultancy GCI runs its own Academy, catering
to every employee at every level. Firefly Communications holds a series
of one-to four-day programmes for graduates in their first six
This is matched by more informal training, where recruits shadow
different people in the agencies.
However, agency life is not for everyone and many prefer to launch their
PR career in a corporate setting. For reasons of size, time and money,
it seems that very few corporate organisations offer a formal
PR-specific graduate training scheme, although many take do take on
college and university leavers.
'We've currently got a graduate working in a junior communications role,
but we're not quite at the stage to be able to give graduates the time
and resources necessary for a formal graduate programme,' says Sasha
Chisholm, AOL head of communications strategy.
Similarly, many blue-chip companies have an annual graduate intake, but
only for general management roles, where within their training, recruits
can opt for a communications placement.
From the Civil Service, with its recruitment scheme for Government
Information and Communications Service press officers, to in-house PR
functions and PR agencies, there are plenty of opportunities for
graduates to gain solid training and build a successful career.
Those looking to steal a march on the rest, and gain a professional PR
grounding, should consider an Institute of Public Relations approved
These range from first degrees to postgraduate diplomas and masters
degrees, with students eligible to enjoy the benefits of IPR student
The range of IPR approved courses is shown in the box below.
IPR APPROVED COURSES
The IPR approves a number of first degrees, postgraduate diplomas and
masters degrees. Students studying these qualifications are eligible to
join the IPR as student members.
On completion of an approved programme a student will be eligible for
upgrading to associate membership (AMIPR) if they have less than four
years experience in public relations or full membership (MIPR) if they
have more than four years professional experience.
IPR Diploma and Foundation in Public Relations 020 7253 5151
Bournemouth University BA (Hons) in Public Relations 01202 595105
CAM Higher Diploma in Public Relations 020 7828 7506
Cardiff University (Centre 01222 874000
for Journalism Studies) x 6843
Postgraduate Diploma in Public and Media Relations
University of Central Lancashire, Lancashire 01772 894753
Business School (Department of Journalism)
BA Combined and Single Honours in Public Relations
Dublin Institute of Technology 00 353 1 402 3098
MA/Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations
Leeds Metropolitan University 0113 283 2600
BA (Hons) in Public Relations/Public Relations with
Language MA in European Public Relations
Trinity & All Saints University 0113 283 7166
College (School of Media), University of Leeds
BA (Joint Hons) Media with Management Postgraduate Diploma in Public
Manchester Metropolitan 0161 247 6050
University MA in Public Relations
Queen Margaret University 0131 317 3782
College (Edinburgh) BA (Hons) Corporate Communications
University College of St Mark 01752 777188
& St John (Plymouth) BA (Hons) in Public Relations
University of Stirling 01786 466220
(Film & Media Department) MSc in Public Relations
University of Ulster 028 90368853
BSc (Hons) Communication, Advertising and Marketing
West Herts College (Watford 01923 812427
Campus) PRCA Diploma in International Public Relations