Claire Henderson’s Student Story

Whether you’re starting out in your PR career, want to move up a level, or need to grow your knowledge in specialist areas, a CIPR qualification will take you further, faster.

We had a chat to Claire Henderson after her graduation from CIPR Professional PR Diploma Level 7.

What was the turning point that made you decide to study this PR qualification?

I had been thinking about studying for the level 7 Diploma for a while, I was working for a charity, but I was looking for a new job, so it wasn’t the right time. After moving to a membership organisation, the Northern Housing Consortium and settling into my new role as a Communications Manager, I felt it was time to start thinking about the diploma again. Working for a membership body, I’m not just representing my organisation, I am also representing our members. So it was a good time to back up my 13 years of practical experience in the PR industry with the theory and knowledge to help me execute strategic PR campaigns to support the influencing and policy work we do on behalf of the North.

What did you enjoy most about this course?

I really enjoyed the opportunity to debate and explore different scenarios in PR with fellow colleagues and tutors, the format of the course really allowed for a high-level of discussion and debate which helped me considerably with the learning. One of my favourite aspects of the course was taking part in a crisis scenario planning session. This threw us into a ‘crisis’ where we had to work together to think through the steps we would have to take as a PR team working alongside other executive team members as the crisis unfolded. I also enjoyed debating various ethical scenarios in the third module, ethics is a crucial part of PR, but it can so often be overlooked.

What do you think you will do differently now?

The course encouraged me to think much more strategically and ethically. I am now more confident in planning and executing multi-channel PR campaigns, pulling together relevant and interesting content and measuring PR in a meaningful and effective way. I’ve grown my network across the membership, which has allowed me to reach more communications professionals and learn about their challenges on the ground. My connections to CIPR has also helped me to bring PR and Communications sector experts to our members to gain insight and learning, as well as giving me access to a wide range of regional events.

What words of advice would you give anyone considering a career in PR?

PR can provide you with an exciting and varied career, the strategic nature of the profession offers opportunities to progress even to Board level if this is what you aspire to. The discipline of PR encourages you to perform proper research to understand the problem or issue, this places you in a key advisory role to executive management teams as you plan your campaign. I think PR touches all areas of the organisation, and it requires you to work across the business. PR can cover different disciplines which can enable you to really focus in and become an expert in your chosen field, for example, crisis communications, public affairs, media relations, digital PR, internal communications or measurement. I would also advise anyone working in PR to consider joining an affiliating body such as the CIPR. Knowing I have a network of PR professionals in the North East and a wealth of sector knowledge to help me through my role is a massive support to me.

Would you recommend nesma as a study centre?

I’ve studied two qualifications with nesma, the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing and the CIPR Level 7 Diploma – for both courses nesma was a great place to study. Veronica and the team are friendly and provide a relaxed but focussed atmosphere for study.

The CIPR Professional PR Diploma is designed to help students gain an advanced understanding of professional practice, including PR strategy and planning, content management, media and engagement, measurement and evaluation, and PR leadership. All underpinned by reference to ethics and the code of conduct.

Take a look at all the CIPR qualifications you can study with us HERE.

NESMA Admin