Education is about increasing confidence

Just as I was about to go to bed the other night, I heard a familiar voice on the local late evening news.  It was one of my Guildford group of CIPR Advanced Certificate students.  Just a couple of weeks into a new job, and here he was, spokesperson for his organisation, providing an informed statement on a major court case.

I was very impressed by his level of professionalism.  Less than a year ago, the student was not in a mainstream PR role and here he is, having gained a new job and the confidence to speak coherently in front of television cameras.

Of course, I sent my congratulations by email and was delighted to hear that the student had:

Had an interesting debate with the legal team while preparing the statement, and the skills and knowledge I’d gained from the course certainly proved useful in convincing them to agree to it.

We will shortly start the new teaching year and one of the first exercises we do is called “hopes and fears”.  This involves students writing anonymously on post-it notes, what they hope to achieve from the course, and what their major concerns might be.

We then group these and share them back.  This enables us to slay the common fears and share tips in areas such as time management and getting the support of bosses and family.  More importantly, we learn of their dreams and ambitions.

New jobs, increased salaries, the ability to underpin practice with theory, greater recognition at work, more status for the PR function…  all are realistic outcomes from the 10 month study programme for the CIPR Advanced Certificate and Diploma. 

But most important of all, we can demonstrate how studying gives confidence.  When you can draw on a body of knowledge, examples of best practice, and the experiences of fellow students and tutors, it is much easier to grow and achieve your goals.

As well as covering the course syllabus, during the year, we provide counsel to students on the challenges they face in their current work and help them realise their career ambitions.

This is a real privilege – as was hearing my student on the news.  A real, top Greenbanana.

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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 “Education is about increasing confidence”

  1. Yes Heather, I can vouch for Greenbanana’s brilliance. I learnt so much from the Diploma course and am now seeking new positions which request this qualification.

  2. James – you are right, although sometimes we can gain confidence regardless of what we are studying or its usefulness. Beyond the content, the actual process of learning and gaining transferable skills can be a huge boost.

    Mind you, if you feel baffled by what you are studying or the tutors are not supportive, I suppose education can actually negatively impact on confidence. Studies have shown the consequences of labelling people as stupid at school on their confidence. That’s not to say that everyone should be told they are marvellous, when they are not. Ensuring criticism is constructive and part of the learning process is essential – and does build confidence.

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