Changing career with a postgraduate in PR at Leeds Beckett

by Jonathan Routledge

What is there to say about Leeds Beckett PR life? Well, speaking as a current MA in Public relations and Strategic Communications student, I can tell you that this 25-year-old course has a lot to offer its students.

I started in September 2017, having done a journalism undergraduate degree. My major concern before starting the course was that I had no experience in PR whatsoever. I hadn’t studied the subject or attained any work experience in the industry. The only thing I had to draw from was the cross over information between journalism and PR from my BA degree.

My worries were put at ease on the first day when the course leader told me that no previous experience was needed. With this huge weight off my mind, I prepared to study for the first term, which involved participation in three modules alongside a dissertation class once every two weeks.

One particular module that stood out in the first term was ‘Strategic Communication’. This involved the class being split up into small presentation teams and on the guidance of a brief; we were instructed to pitch to a small, local PR firm (Harris Associates) with the overall goal of how to increase their number of clients in 2017.

Personally, I had relatively no experience of a big presentation like this one, so I was glad when other modules gave me the chance to practice these skills. This is a much more relaxed environment to gain the confidence necessary to pitch to professionals.

This enabled me to be much more assured when delivering to Harris and as a result, my team ended up being the winners of the task, which we were obviously delighted about as a great deal of time and effort had gone into preparing the pitch.

Practical experience is combined with more academically focused modules, which could be considered the courses main strength; preparing students for a PR job whilst at the same time giving them knowledge of the theory of the subject.

The second term so far has been no different. With a PR skills module involving an even bigger presentation to IKEA. Alongside this I have chosen to do a work placement module in order to enhance my CV in terms of working experience. This module was an option, so if time constraints mean you can’t do it other choices are available.

Doing this course is a lot of work however, exemplified by the dissertation unit. The overall piece including the proposal will be nineteen thousand words! The good thing is, the course is organised in a way where plenty of time can be allocated to each assignment/module.

In doing this course I am confident of being able to start a career in PR and be well prepared enough to do the job to good effect. This will hopefully be due to a combination of the theoretical and the practical knowledge it gave me.


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