So, you want my job? PR and comms manager, Lake District National Park

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Sarah Calderbank's job as PR and comms manager at the Lake District National Park?

There is only one real lake in the Lake District, reveals Sarah Calderbank
There is only one real lake in the Lake District, reveals Sarah Calderbank


Sarah Calderbank.


PR and comms manager, Lake District National Park.

Starting salary/salary band for the job? 

£31,000 to £36,000.

What qualifications do you need?

A PR/journalism/marketing degree, or equivalent, is going to be really helpful, but what's really essential is an evidence of continuous professional development and a demonstration of how you've implemented the latest strategies and tactics. It's absolutely vital to the future of the PR profession.

What level of experience do you need?

At least five years' working knowledge across all levels of PR is essential. It's a small, but busy, multidisciplinary team, so you need to be able to pitch in as needed – whether its uploading a media release to the website, posting an Instagram story, preparing a briefing note or issuing the internal newsletter, it's important to keep the tools sharp. 

Is previous experience in a public-sector comms role necessary/useful?

It's definitely useful, but not essential if you're willing to put in the effort to learn quickly. I came from a private-sector background, with a little not-for-profit along the way, but I probably got the most varied experience working in an agency. It’s something I always recommend to new starters. 

What are the main day-to-day challenges?

In addition to the on-the-job challenges that come with media management, influencer campaigns, internal communications, social-media content and leadership, I often need to use my strategic and issues-management skills. People are incredibly passionate about the Lake District and this often creates polarising views as to how the place should be managed. We need to be part of these debates, quickly sharing the right information to the right audience, in the right way and at the right time. This type of reputation-management work is often challenging when you're trying to simultaneously inspire people to visit and enjoy the National Park. However, it's a challenge I relish and often it feels like the breadth of subject matter is almost like working in an agency.

What is the best part of the job?

The variety – no two days are the same – and, of course, the place. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the expansive views across Windermere from a hike up Gummer’s How. 

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job? 

That we actually only have one lake in the Lake District – Bassenthwaite Lake. The rest are tarns, meres and waters. And if you’ve ever accidentally slipped up in your comms, you’ll certainly be reminded of this fact! 

If you get an interview, do say…

I am passionate about the future of the Lake District and believe we need to engage with a younger audience to sustain the future of our national parks.

If you get an interview, don’t say…

I’ve always wanted to work for the National Trust. (This actually happened in an interview!)

If you’re good at this job, you might also be well-suited to…

PR or communications lead at a destination-management organisation, National Trust, county or district council, Environment Agency or Forestry Commission. 

Please note: Interviewees for 'So, you want my job' are not leaving their current role

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