Karl is the Communications Executive at BIGGA Ltd and editor of Greenkeeper International and he recently graduated from the CIPR Professional PR Diploma (Level 7).
What was the turning point that made you decide to study this PR qualification?
After achieving my senior journalism qualifications (NQJ), I distinctly remember someone saying to me, “congratulations, you’ve just finished the last exam you’ll ever need to complete.” After years of school, college, university and then journalism training, it came as something of a relief.
However, turn the clock forwards a few years, and I’ve now made the move from news reporter to communications professional. Now my primary responsibility is the production of a monthly magazine, Greenkeeper International. My additional duties centre around building campaigns for initiatives we host and the promotion of the greenkeeping profession, and I realised this where there was a gap in my knowledge.
The membership association I work for is rightly proud of the education provision it offers members and I figured that I should take that on board. So I began to investigate ways in which I could push myself to the next level, which is when I came across the PR Diploma and nesma.
What did you enjoy most about this course?
It’s something of a cliché, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I came to the course, not knowing what to expect, but after each lesson, I would go back to work wholly reinvigorated and excited to put into practice what I had learned.
What’s more, although I engage with PR agencies and staff at other associations daily, I’m the only communications professional at the association. I hadn’t ever sat in a room with a team of people with the same experience as me and discussed ways we could improve. The sharing of knowledge around the nesma table was something I really appreciated, and I hope to be able to continue this through my membership of the CIPR.
What do you think you will do differently now?
In the past year, I have changed significantly in both a professional and a personal sense. I know that I’m ready to take the next step in my career, to work with a team under me that I can develop and share ideas with. The expert knowledge that I’ve gained through studying towards this qualification, I’ve put into practice and had success with, not least because it’s impressed management and other members of staff. My confidence has grown with each nod of approval. I’m now acting at a higher level – planning ahead and shaping the direction of the association rather than just responding to an instruction from management.
What words of advice would you give anyone considering a career in PR?
Tough one this, because the media industry moves so quickly that I wouldn’t want to give anyone any bad advice! Ever since I acknowledged the fact that I wasn’t going to be a Top Gun pilot, I’d wanted to be a journalist, and I found I had a knack for telling stories. I guess my advice would be that you have to show to any prospective employer that you are continually developing and improving. The way to do that is by taking responsibility for your professional development. Take every opportunity you can to learn something new and don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” as I’ve found they’re among the most important words you can ever use. You don’t know everything, they know you don’t know everything, so put pride aside and start learning.
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.
All of nesma’s qualification and training sessions have currently moved online to support our existing students and potential clients. We are running all our CIM and CIPR qualifications via interactive webinars to replicate our popular classroom experiences. The new term starts week commencing 15 June, if you have any queries please get in touch with Lucy Davidson.