Our latest work experience student, Alannah Williams joined Petersens to learn more about the world of PR. In this blog, she reflects on her last month here. Have a read through to see how she got on…

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Before starting university, I had hoped that I’d successfully balance my academic and social life with lots of potential work experience opportunities, thus emerging out the other end with a cracking CV and a job already lined up. For those fortunate types, that does sometimes turn into a reality. Yet for many others, including me, those aspirations might not always come to fruition straight away. Now, after finishing my university career with a clearer picture in mind of what I want to do, I find myself at Petersens PR for some short-term work experience.

Throughout my three years of undergraduate study in the field of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, I made sure that I contributed regularly to student media and various publications both online and in print. Creative writing was always my passion and that is certainly still the case. However, after returning from a semester abroad in Canada and then subsequently taking on the role of an ambassador for studying abroad, I began to carry out work that reflected Marketing and Communications more than straight Journalism. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an ambassador and it solidified my desire to pursue this kind of work in the future.

I consider my work experience at Petersens PR, which I gained through the Careers and Employability service at Cardiff University, as my first proper insight into this industry. The six weeks I’ve spent here have proved invaluable and I’ve been given a reasonable amount of autonomy to complete work in areas such as social media marketing, e-marketing, press release writing and administration. In the process, I’ve learnt about the agencies wide range of clients and the daily workings of a busy PR team.  Just through being in an office environment and observing my surroundings, I’m much more confident about gaining further work experience and transferring the skills and experience I’ve acquired here into future endeavours.

At 21 years of age, the world of work is still an incredibly daunting prospect. However, if I’m certain about one thing, it’s that I now realise the importance of volunteering and securing work experience whilst you still can. Not only does it provide you with the essential skills needed to develop in your chosen career, but it also demonstrates to future employers your dedication and shows that you’ve given up your free time for bigger and more important things.

I would like to thank Rob, Phoebe, Danielle and everyone else I’ve met at Petersens PR who’ve kindly helped me along the way, giving me an extremely worthwhile placement and one that I won’t be forgetting any time soon!

One of our Account Executives, Phoebe, recently went to see The Revlon Girl at The Riverfront Theatre in Newport. Here she shares her thoughts on the play…

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Though based on the events surrounding the Aberfan disaster, The Revlon Girl is a play that focuses on much more than the tragedy itself. It bravely and triumphantly shines a light on our fragile human condition and innate ability to push through hardship at the toughest of times.

The performance began with sound effects of the tip tumbling down and the slush caving in on the former coal mining village of Aberfan. Immediately drawn to the impact the fall had upon the community, I prepared myself for what I thought was about to be a pretty upsetting play. And it was, at times, but under the guidance of Neil Docking’s script and Maxine Evans’s direction, all four of the superb actresses did a magnificent job at flickering between emotions and transforming the atmosphere of the room from sadness to happiness and tears into laughter. Despite the incredibly tough subject matter, The Revlon Girl must be commended for its success in informing the audience whilst remaining light-hearted and enjoyable.

Whilst sitting in the audience I felt as though I was a part of something, a community, a tight-knit friendship group. The bare and stripped-back stage drew your attention to the actresses themselves which, along with the dim flicker of light, made you feel as though you were a fly on the wall listening to the women inside the confines of their small room. Although it was an intense watch, over the short space of an hour and a half you went on a journey with the characters and felt completely and utterly immersed in their emotions.

I went along to the showing with my grandma, auntie and two of her friends all of whom remember the Aberfan disaster “as if it was yesterday!”. Though we varied in age from 21 to 84, we were all mesmerised from start to finish and thought the play was a fantastic way to commemorate the disaster’s 50th anniversary. The Revlon Girl is a play that entwines together the past and the present, and reminds a modern day audience why we should always reflect upon historical events to unravel and understand different communities.

The Revlon Girl stops touring around Wales on the 22nd October 2016. To find out more information about the play, please go to www.octobersixtysix.com 

Phoebe image 2.JPGNo one really prepares you for university finishing and believe me it’s incredibly daunting.  I studied Journalism, Media and English Literature at Cardiff University and always thought I wanted to be a journalist. After completing my second year I began to panic about having little work experience so I decided to stay in Cardiff to try and gain some. I ended up volunteering at George Thomas Hospice Care and Horn Development Association as well as completing a week at Buzz Magazine. Although these three organisations were all very different, they taught me that there were a number of jobs I could do outside of journalism if I was interested in working for the media and communication industry.

I also managed to secure a Marketing Internship at the university’s Student Support and Wellbeing Service throughout my third year. During this placement I thoroughly enjoyed the creative aspect of branding and campaigns so began looking into graduate opportunities in PR and marketing. Now that I’m at Petersens I’m really looking forward to my next three months and am keen to learn a lot more about how a PR agency works. It’s only my second day but everyone here has been incredibly friendly and I feel completely at ease.

Like many other graduates I’m still not completely sure where I want to be in ten years time but the more experience I gain the more I’m gaining a clearer picture. Although finishing university is scary I am beginning to realise it’s also extremely exciting and full of new opportunities.

I found a recent article by journalist Polly Phillips in last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph absolutely fascinating, and thought it might possibly contain some useful advice for how we in the UK can become a happier nation.

As we say farewell to a typical wet, windy diet-obsessed January, Polly explained how the Danes ignore the annual fasting to create our ‘perfect’ bodies and enjoy living as they have done for centuries. You can see young and IMG_2189old Danes alike plunging naked into the icy seas around the coast in mid winter and enjoying pastries whenever they want to!

A recent study by the University of Zurich sheds some light on the reasons for such a carefree approach to living. Apparently, Danes are conditioned from a young age not to feel shame. A mere 1.62% of the population suffer from gelotophobia (a fear of ridicule), the lowest figure of any country surveyed. Britain topped the charts with 13%! Danish children do not grow up paralysed by the fear of being laughed at as we do. While we might spend hours locked in gyms on treadmills, the Danes spend hours outside, biking, hiking and swimming – often in the nude (no one is at all worried by the sight of naked bodies as we would be in the UK!).

If you look deeper you can see how different Danes are from the reserved American and British citizen. From communal showers and baths to women’s liberation in the 1960s, Danish society really does accept a different way of life, and perhaps starting at a very young age there is an acceptance that if the rules say you go naked into the showers then this is what you do.

It seems to me that this accepted way of life must contribute to the Danes being one of the world’s happiest nations. Acceptance of who we are naked or clothed and following accepted rules made by society is not a bad way to live.

Is there a lesson here for us Brits, who sadly appear much further down in this league of ‘happiest’ nations?

– Rob Petersen.

As we all mourn the passing of Graham Jenkins, the last surviving brother of film star Richard Burton and a great Welshman in his own right, we naturally recount moments when we might have met or been touched by such celebrity.JS78861923

In my case, I met Graham when I was working for an advertising agency, Creighton Griffiths, where as a young Account Handler I was given responsibility to handle the advertising and promotion of the famous Afon Lido, which Graham was then running on behalf of the Local Authority. His warmth to and tolerance of a youngster like me was significant and the long lunches which followed our regular meetings were legendary!

I kept in touch with Graham once he handed over responsibility to another of Port Talbot’s sons Gordon Davies and had the great pleasure of meeting up with him at the BBC Club in London following the editing of a TV commercial for the Wales Tourist Board. As we were about to catch our allocated train back to Cardiff, Graham insisted that we drop by ‘his local’ for another drink on the way to Paddington.

Duly taxis arrived and we followed Graham to ‘his local’, which turned out to be the Dorchester Hotel. We followed Graham into one of the bars where he ordered drinks and began to sing at the piano located there. After an hour or two I suddenly realised that the last train back to Cardiff would be leaving in 20 minutes and approached Graham to settle the bill, to which Graham said: “I thought you might be staying the night so I arranged for you to use Richard’s apartment which he has permanently reserved!”

Sadly I could not take up the offer but Graham insisted that we should not pay anything as it was going on Richard’s tab, which is how by default I had a few drinks on Richard Burton via his beloved brother, Jenks.

R.I.P. Graham, you were a star in your own right.

– Rob Petersen.

We have all been touched and horrified by the hundreds of images shown on broadcast and social media over the last week covering the events in Paris, as well as the frightening verbal accounts of some of the survivors.peace-for-paris-hed-2015

The terrorists who planned, and then implemented the various acts of brutal killings and bomb blasts are obviously well financed and must be part of a strategy by ISIL to deliver terror and fear into, not just French citizens, but all Europeans of whatever country or political leanings.

While retaliation is an understandable and necessary action to halt further atrocities on such a scale, I am concerned that until the young, vulnerable and disenchanted youths of so many counries are reunited with basic human values of what is good, beneficial and constructive in those countries such tragic events will continue.

If these indoctrinated, marginalised  young terrorists find that their actions do not spread chaos, panic and financial disorder as they are designed to do then their current strategy will have failed.

This is why we all as Europeans must show solidarity and support all those affected by last weekend’s horror in Paris, and work together to eliminate both the funders of these terrorists and the terrorist recruitment cells across the world.

Vive la France, Vive la Europe.

Rob Petersen.

We were joined for the first Cardiff Breakfast Club of the season by Ron Jones, Founder and Executive Chairman of ‘super-indie’ television production company Tinopolis. Ron has been awarded the CBE for his contribution to the media industry and is an advisor on the creative industries to the Welsh Government. His talk focused on the economic benefits of supporting the creative industries – particularly television and film – in Wales.

Ron began by explaining that all government worldwide are now realising that the creative industries are important in driving economic growth, and that in countries such as Singapore governments are ‘throwing money’ at creative projects, creating a highly competitive environment in which Welsh companies have to compete.

However, Ron stressed the fact that the creative industries are an area in which Wales holds its own thanks to the talent and expertise within the industry. The sector now employs 75,000 people – an increase of 50% over the last ten years. With the average weekly earnings for employees in the industry between £710 and £720 a week, much higher than other priority sectors, the contribution of those working in the creative industries to the economy is substantial.

Ron expressed concern that few Welsh companies were heading ‘for the high seas’ to compete across the world in what has become a global industry and emphasised the need for Welsh television to compete across the world. Ron’s own company, Tinopolis, has offices across the UK, LA, Middle East and Singapore and will have a turnover of £250million this year. He used Tinopolis as an example to show that Wales is not at a competitive disadvantage and that technology means
that there is no reason why Wales shouldn’t be a ‘global player’.
Cardiff Breakfast ClubRon also stressed the need for help and funding for the Welsh creative industries from the government, pointing out that;“Much of the growth has come from small micro-businesses of which some have the potential to become significant players. We need to match government funds to the needs of these companies.”

Ron noted that there are many talented and supportive civil servants working within the Welsh Government and that a good relationship has been established between the creative sector and the government, but that there is still obstruction to finding and support that needs to be addressed to help Wales become a global player in the industry.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on 23rd October with guest speaker Tim Williams, Chief Executive of the Welsh Automotive Forum. For further information and booking details, please contact caroline@petersenspr.com or phone 02920 549597.

As I really begin to look forward to my annual holiday on the glorious island of Ibiza soon, I read with some sadness and concern one poll survey showing that 75% of SME owners sacrificed their holidays to power through and ensure their business runs smoothly. With the technology available today to keep in touch and good planning most of us can take at least a summer holiday to recharge the batteries and reduce stress.

While others may prefer to have active holidays and explore new places, I prefer a destination which I know well and where I will hopefully get some all important vitamin D and serotonin, the ‘happiness hormone’, from the sun. As I get older I think I will become more prone to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) syndrome so my weeks in the summer are important for my health and well-being.

Even though research shows that those living in some colder climates like Denmark, Iceland and Norway are ‘happier’ than UK citizens in terms of social support, life expectancy, generosity etc and not just wealth and economic prosperity, I strongly believe that summer breaks in the sun have huge benefits in the longer term to my overall happiness so need to find it abroadsadly as I would prefer a ‘stay-cation’ ideally!

Blue sky, warm breeze in the evening, healthy eating and a few glasses of rose really will help me recharge for the winter ahead. Of my 20 statutory days of holiday each year at least 10 must be in the sun. Long live the summer break for SMEs and all of us.

-Rob Petersen

The debate over the pros and cons of assisted dying was once again brought to our attention today with the story of Bob Cole, who travelled to Switzerland this afternoon to end his life.

Sean McCabe with new wife Lisa (left) and urging others not to give up hope (right). Picture credit: Wales Online

But as the country argues the ethics of Bob Cole’s decision to end his life, what a truly heart-warming survival story we had in today’s Western Mail.

The Mail reports on the story of cancer sufferer Sean McCabe who, having been given 2 months to live due to an aggressive form of cancer, planned his funeral in his local church.

In an incredible turn of events and after a bone marrow transplant he beat the disease to the astonishment of doctors and cancelled his funeral, planning instead his wedding to his partner Lisa in front of hundreds of guests. As Sean says, every day to him is a miracle and he is now 18 months in remission.

As someone who has also suffered from a cancer scare, having had a tumour removed from my left lung 2 years ago, I believe survivors like Sean and myself do tend to have a more positive view on life and try to persuade others to enjoy the moment every day as sadly lives can be turned around in an instant by this dreaded disease amongst many others.

So live every day as best you can with a smile on your face!

-Rob Petersen.

While we have had many good news stories recently, very often it’s the bad news which makes the front pages of our regional press. However, in today’s South Wales Echo all bad news is banished to the inside pages!

The reason for this is the truly remarkable story of five year old Cian Morris who was born without fully formed fingers on his right hand but has now had a prosthetic hand made using revolutionary 3D printing technology and that cost just £60 to make.

Developed by researchers from the FabLab team at Cardiff Metropolitan University, this innovative device which is operated by Cian using just his wrist could be the salvation for many children and presumably adults suffering from similar problems.

Once again, this is proof that we have some of the very best researchers and scientists working and living in our capital city. Let’s celebrate this wonderful news for Cian and his family with the rest of the world. Cardiff really is in the news recently for some very positive reasons. Well done FabLab manager Martijn Gommeren and your team, we are proud of you all.