Onwards and upwards – PR "babies" leave the nest

In October 2004, I agreed to become a part-time lecturer on the public relations degree course at Bournemouth University.

Within a couple of weeks I stood in front of a class of fresh-faced 2nd year students (there has to be a more interesting than that) aiming to introduce them to the joys of studying Public Opinion and Persuasion.

Back then, one of the goals on my continuous professional development plan was to overcome my dislike of “stand and deliver” teaching.  So I’d thought that facing a 60-strong herd of 19-year-old students (is that any better?) would be a suitable deep-end from which to throw myself.

Of course, the IT system wouldn’t work and I busked the first lecture aiming to get the sympathy vote.  Over the early Winter morning seminars and hung-over Monday lunchtime lectures (that’s them, not me), I thought we both learned quite a lot and I really enjoyed getting to know them.  (Actually with their fondness for Heat magazine, and only 7 blokes, maybe a gossip of PR students is most appropriate.)

A number went onto placements in motor industry PR where I got to know them further and then I’ve been a supervisor and marker for some fascinating dissertations over the past 6 months. 

So I was delighted to be asked to attend the PR graduating class of 2007’s leaving drinks-do in Bournemouth yesterday evening.  It is 25 years since my graduation – and I’d forgotten what an important step this is. 

After 4 years studying and practising public relations, they are now fledglings ready to leave the nest.  They seemed much more grown-up than when I first met them and I know they have the potential for great careers ahead of them.

Several are “fans” of my blog (I know because they referred to my recent various rantings) and I look forward to hearing about their progress in the profession directly, through the pages of PR Week and as they become new media stars (thanks to the innovative teaching they’ve experienced this year from David Phillips).

I think there has never been a more exciting time to begin a career in public relations – there are amazing opportunities out there and a chance to make a real difference to the future direction of this profession.

At times they inadvertently made me feel very old, but I loved their different perspectives on the world.  I wish you all the best – and you know where to find me.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

4 thoughts on “Onwards and upwards – PR "babies" leave the nest”

  1. It was great to see most of them all one last time, though I chickened out on the pub golf! Never saw myself as naive but when this was mentioned I thought they meant one of those wii style golf games you get, oh no, this is the can you sink four drinks or even a hole in one; I only heard from two of them today and one mentioned feeling a bit rough still. Good on em!!

    I have knownthem all since year one, well slowly grown to know them as for years one and two they were all faces in lecture theatres, but they’re a great bunch and it is sad that I wont have lively debates (even at 9 am on Weds mornings, with that group again. I know the next final year are just as great but just to let them know they’ll be missed. All the best for the future guys and keep in touch!!!

  2. I blush because what really happened is they took my rantings with great good humour and then did it all themselves by adding widgets to the one and only BAPR4 wiki’s which is mostly created by them – case studies, assignments, analysis of channels, risk assessment – all their work – brilliant. They then worked out how handy IM and Facebook are for helping with revision! There is star quality there…

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