Public relations is a wide ranging profession requiring a multitude of skills. With new degree apprenticeships in PR being put out to consultation this month, now is the perfect time for the industry to think about what makes a good PR.
Practice makes perfect
One thing all PRs will agree on is how the majority of any professional’s development will be on the job training. The PRCA and CIPR both ensure that on-the-job training is available for PR-pros. But the PRCA has gone one step further in developing a revised higher apprenticeship and a new masters-level degree apprenticeship for entrants into the industry – putting practice at the heart of developing new recruits as well as seasoned pros.
The PRCA is now asking for employers to comment on the draft two-page apprenticeship frameworks (both links below go through Google Docs where you can leave comments):
- Click here to comment on the higher apprenticeship revised framework
- Click here to comment on the new degree apprenticeship framework
Theory and change
A key part of the new degree apprenticeship will be the work the PRCA is doing with the University of Westminster to align the apprenticeship with its MA in Public Relations. In reality, this means that degree apprentices will study part of this MA course on top of the practical training and experience they get (in time the hope is that other university PR courses will be available as part of the apprenticeship).
Driven by a development group made up of agencies and inhouse teams, the Westminster course is also being further improved so it will help apprentices understand the key theories and concepts behind modern PR and communications. For many experienced PRs, development and implementation of these theories (such as behaviour change, nudge, situational communications etc) will come naturally – but those who gain a base knowledge at the start of their careers will have a head start.
Some of the most important theories entrants to the PR profession need to grasp are those around evaluation. And at the heart of all evaluation is good data. My recent work for Tomorrow’s Engineers Week and Your Life has also re-enforced just how important maths qualifications are as a starting point to a great career. In PR, as in engineering, if you can’t analyse data you’ll struggle.
But, unlike some other industries, it may not be the end of the world if PRs don’t have a grounding in maths and an understanding of statistics. However, those PRs who can do the sums will be able to prove their effectiveness far more than those that can’t.