For the past four weeks I have been working at Pagefield, having being placed through the Taylor Bennett Foundation – a programme that seeks to diversify the communications sector, offering internships to undergraduates and recent graduates.
I stumbled across the programme by chance; I didn’t really have much of an idea of what was involved in PR & Communications, much less considering it as a career option. I still applied without expecting much, and a few months later I was placed at Pagefield, a company that the foundation thought matched my interests and skill set.
There was an introduction week of lectures before starting the placement at the London College of Communication, designed both to prepare us for our internships and introduce us to the breadth of career paths and companies available to work at within this sector. I then started at Pagefield the following Monday, slightly apprehensive about what was ahead of me, but ultimately now finishing the placement very glad that I bit the bullet and applied.
I could write an endless list of the things I have learnt over the past four weeks, but I will whittle it down to the most important five for me.
- Working in comms means working in a fast-paced environment. It was a big difference coming from a workplace attached to much longer-term projects with few external factors to change that. Whilst work still involves long-term objectives and goals, things often come up last minute, or the day’s events mean that work needs to be done quickly. Luckily, that means there’s a wide variety day-to-day, as you often have to be prepared for things to be given to you with a short turnaround – which definitely keeps things interesting!
- There’s lots of benefits for working for smaller agencies. Being part of a smaller team meant I was able to get to know lots of people quickly, and everyone has been extremely helpful in briefing me on projects and clients and introducing me to software and tools I had not previously used. I was also able to help with work over different projects and tasks as and when it was needed, allowing me to develop a variety of skills.
- The impact of politics on organisations and companies. It sounds very obvious, but I have never really considered the impact of political changes from a commercial viewpoint. It has been eye-opening to see the real effect of policies, and even comments, made in the political sphere on companies and organisations, and therefore the nature of the work we do.
- How much research is behind everything that we do. Behind an effective PR operation lies a lot of background research and hard work. So much of what the company does depends on the research, audits, and analysis carried out by the more junior staff; something I didn’t fully appreciate until I was doing it myself.
- The importance of good written communication. Working collaboratively and in a fast-paced environment often means writing things that need to be understood easily by both your team and the client. I’ve learnt that there’s a real art in being clear and concise whilst still including all the necessary information, something I’ve been trying to perfect!
In a relatively short time, I feel as if I’ve been really stretched and challenged, and genuinely developed a wide array of skills. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve gone from not really knowing anything about the sector to genuinely considering pursuing a career in it upon my graduation.