GUIDE TO CAREERS IN PUBLIC RELATIONS: Training - Lesson for success. From formal graduate training programmes to polishing your skills on the job, there are a wide range of personal career development options open to the industry's fresh recruits

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.


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

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