A couple of weeks ago, I started a new stage in my career after being invited to become a part-time lecturer on the PR degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. I took the degree BA (Hons) Public Relations myself many years ago, and although I enjoyed a lot of it, there were still certain things I felt could be improved and so I have taken the challenge and decided to take the plunge.
The best part of the degree for me was when I went on industrial placement and worked in-house on a nuclear power station in Lancashire. I wanted to do a year in placement so much that I went out and found it myself rather than waiting for the right opportunity to drop into my lap. The experience I got in my 14-months there helped me develop my knowledge and secure some much needed pieces for my portfolio. It meant that when I got to interview I had already worked both in-house and in agency and this gave me a great start to getting my first job.
I am teaching specialist PR and digital skills to second year students. My first lessons were a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately I managed to damage my cruciate ligament in my left leg the day before which meant I have been on crutches for the last couple of weeks – making moving around campus something of a challenge.
Last week, I started by taking my class through Community Relations and then my Friday classes are more directed towards helping undergraduates think about their personal branding and employability something I feel very strongly about as I have had a lot of good and bad approaches over the years. I do occasionally like to have a good rant about poor email approaches, so the Friday classes really suit me but if I am honest I see myself more as a coach/mentor rather than an actual academic tutor.
I am just hoping to share some of my experience in the industry and help them to use their own initiative that little bit more and to try and make them think differently about working in PR. I want PR graduates to be proud of what they do. So for the next twelve weeks I am going to be swatting up on the theory and sharing some of the finest case studies from the industry. It is certainly going to be very interesting and challenging for me but in for a penny in for a pound as they say. I am learning how to teach as I go along but hopefully the students will enjoy it and if I can help to get them that little bit more interested in the creative industries I think my work will be done.
Wish me luck I think I am going to need it.