Posts Tagged ‘Cardiff University’

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!

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Today we welcome Caroline Hodges, who has joined us for a three month placement. We asked Caroline to write a short blog to introduce herself…

Caroline HodgesLike a lot of young people I spent most of my time at university with no definitive idea of what I was going to do as a career after I finished. My initial dreams of a career in law were abandoned after spending my first year at university struggling to remember case lists, make sense of judicial decisions and generally not fall asleep from boredom and substituted for aspirations of working as a journalist. I transferred to a degree in Journalism Media and Cultural Studies and began to work on my writing and on building up my journalistic portfolio. It was during a work experience placement with a local newspaper that I first became properly aware of PR and its importance; whenever I was asked to write a piece I would be sent a press release and simply asked to reorganise it. I realised increasingly that the people who were writing the press releases were the ones creating the news, not the journalists.

This was confirmed for me when I took advertising and PR modules as part of my degree and began to look at the industry from an academic perspective – the changing face of media means that PR professionals and the work that they do is becoming increasingly important and exciting as it adapts to the digital and social media age. My strengths have always been in writing and communication and my favourite aspect of every part-time job I’ve had has been building relationships with customers. I decided that a career where I could build on those existing skills while helping to create content and to be a part of an exciting and developing industry would be the perfect fit for me so I began to pursue a career in PR. I feel extremely lucky to have been offered this placement with Petersens as the opportunity to gain experience and learn about the industry from an award-winning firm is something a lot of recent graduates would kill for and I know that it will be invaluable to me moving forward.

Everybody at Petersens is extremely friendly and welcoming and any nerves that I had disappeared within minutes of arriving. After attending a team meeting I was talked through the main clients and the kinds of work Petersens does for them, and given the chance to look through portfolios containing press releases. Learning about the clients that I will be working with and the kinds of work I will have the chance to get involved with was both interesting and very exciting. I can’t wait to get started and I’m very confident that I’m going to enjoy my time with Petersens.

Our latest work experience student, Ellie Bristow has joined us to gain her first experience of PR. Have a read of Ellie’s blog to see what drew her to Petersens…

Ellie picLike most undergraduates at university, it may come as no surprise to know that my future is viewed through frosted glass. I do not have a clear picture of where I want to be at 30 years old and what I want to have achieved by that point. However, when deciding on what career I would like to pursue, I differ from the stereotypical student. I am passionate about marketing. I enjoy building relationships with customers, whether it be the local who always pops in the shop to buy his copy of the Gazette or whether it be an entire company with a host of employees. Communication is something I enjoy and something I am good at (just ask my mum), so to have the opportunity to build a career around communicating with people is my ideal.

I am currently a second year undergraduate at Cardiff University studying Econ Sociology, which might sound strange after I’ve just said that I’m keen to pursue a career in marketing. It is precisely this reason which led my desire to do a Work Experience Insight at Petersens PR. Sociology degrees provide you with little experience specific to marketing and I wanted to learn more about marketing and the areas around it, such as Advertising and PR, from within a working environment.

I arrived at Petersens on the day of the solar eclipse, so was greeted by a crowd of people. I stepped into the office and any worries and anxieties I had previously held about this Insight vanished. The team were very friendly and the atmosphere was positive and relaxed, but still very professional. I sat down and was talked through what Petersens PR does as a company, who their main clients are and then I was shown examples of what they had done for their clients, as well as being informed of what my role would be over the coming weeks.

I have just finished reading through the press releases for some of Petersens main clients and it would be fair to say that I am thoroughly looking forward to working with this team for the next few weeks. I know that I will gain a wealth of knowledge from the company and that I am really going to enjoy my time here.

Breakfast ClubIt was our last Breakfast Club of the season and we were joined by Professor Chris McGuigan, Chairman of the new Welsh Government Life Science Hub. As well as holding the role of Chairman of the Life Sciences Research Network, Chris is also a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Cardiff University, and the co-inventor of three new drug candidates that have entered clinical trials.

Chris was keen to express that the Hub, which is due to open on 17th July, is not a Lab but a business hub. With open-plan working space for 60 people, a board room, meeting rooms and auditorium for 75 people, the Hub is a state-of-the-art facility of which ‘there is nothing quite like it anywhere in the world’. The Hub is currently 40% full, with 40 members already signed up, and Chris believes that this number will increase to 50% occupancy by the opening in July.

Prof Chris McGuigan, Life Sciences Hub

Prof Chris McGuigan, Life Sciences Hub

Chris believes that the Hub is a unique space which can ‘connect and concentrate the Life Sciences in Wales,’ bringing together businesses and academia to stimulate the research and growth of the Life Sciences. Another significant aim of the Hub is to attract investment for the Life Sciences in Wales and ‘bring in money from over the Severn Bridge’. Therefore after looking at several other sites, Chris explained that Cardiff Bay was ultimately felt to be the best location for the Hub.

Professor McGuigan also discussed his position as Chairman of the Life Sciences Research Network. With £7.3m funding from the Welsh Government’s Ser Cymru programme, the Network will fund 100 research projects in Wales. Since its launch in September, the Life Sciences Panel has had 183 bids for project funding, dispelling any fears that there was not high demand for life sciences projects in Wales. Through working in partnership with universities across the country, the Network has currently funded 39 of those projects, of which 70% are Cardiff-based. The Network has also secured an impressive £1m in matchfunding for these projects.

Chris expressed his deep gratitude to the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart for the significant role she has played in pushing forward funding and support for the Life Sciences Hub and for her ‘passion for supporting business in Wales’.With significant support such as this, Chris believes ‘there has never been a better time to do a life sciences business in Wales’ and is looking forward to seeing what progress in Life Sciences can be achieved through the Hub and the work of the Life Sciences Network over the coming year.

Dates and speakers for the autumn will be announced soon. For further information and booking details, please contact eira@petersenspr.com or phone 02920 549597.

Our latest GO Wales placement student Katy has come to the end of her 8 week placement with us. Here’s what she thought of her Petersens work taster…

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Today is my last day in the Petersens office. The past eight weeks have been incredibly eye-opening and insightful. I’ve had the opportunity to get real hands-on experience of the inner, day-to-day workings, in a busy PR office.

If I am completely honest I expected to be making the tea for the whole taster, when in fact I have had the chance to get stuck in and help the team with their day-to-day work. I’ve been lucky enough to practice writing press releases, one of which was used in the Western Mail. And yes, it is on my fridge! I’ve also been able to write blogs for clients, research and compile media packs and contact publications directly. I didn’t think for a second that I would have this much input and a chance to develop real material that would be used. I’ve received consistent, constructive feedback from the team, which has been invaluable, especially as the office has been so busy!

One of the highlights over the past eight weeks has been attending the Cardiff Breakfast Club. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the entire process of the event from the beginning to end. Bright and early Eira and I made our way to the St David’s Hotel & Spa and set up the room ready for the guests. Jon Horne from Cardiff airport was the guest speaker and spoke passionately about how he plans to develop the airport and make it a firm competitor and restore it to its former success. It was a fantastic experience being part of the Breakfast Club and I even had the chance to network with industry professionals over breakfast.

I cannot emphasise enough how friendly and supportive the team has been right from my first day. They took a genuine interest in getting to know me and are fantastic people to work with. I really hope to stay in touch with the wonderful people I’ve met at Petersens and wish them all the best in the future!

Our latest GO Wales Student, Katy Harris, joined us for the first time today as part of a 10 week taster placement. We asked her to write a blog to introduce herself, and explain what interests her about the world of PR…

KatyWith only two months left of my degree at Cardiff University I am filled with excited anticipation of what comes next. Being a bright eyed and bushy tailed soon-to-be-graduate, I am eager to close my university chapter and delve into the real world.

Throughout my three years studying Journalism, Media & Cultural Studies, I’ve written for JOMAG, a newsletter specific to the school of journalism. I have also created my own blog, writing about my student journalistic experience and travelling I have done. Last summer I had the chance to report on the graduation ceremonies and had the privilege of interviewing a few of the honorary fellows such as Madeleine Bunting, an associate editor at the Guardian.

I am excited for my first work experience placement to be at Petersens PR as I am eager to learn from industry professionals who have worked with a variety of clients on different projects. I am originally from a small Welsh town and hope to live in Wales in the future so it is a great honour to be able to learn from a successful Welsh company with an excellent reputation.

From this experience I hope to gain more knowledge of how a PR company operates on a day to day basis. While I have been fortunate to attend Cardiff University, the course I am studying is all theoretical so real world experience is limited. I have recently completed a module based on PR which sparked an interest for me. I did my own research to learn more about the PR industry and it is now something that I am enthusiastic to be a part of.

I hope to further my knowledge of PR and other aspects that Petersens are involved with, such as campaigns and advertising. I am also keen to learn about what it takes to run and maintain a successful company.  It’s my first day here at Petersens and I was warmly welcome by Eira and introduced to Rob and Susannah who were so welcoming and friendly. I really appreciate the opportunity they have given me and am excited to see what the next few weeks hold.

Our latest GO Wales Taster student Katie has come to the end of her 10 week placement with us. We asked her to write a blog about her experience at Petersens…

katieI sadly said goodbye to the good people of Petersens today after finishing my placement, and what a ten weeks it has been! Before I started at Petersens, I had very limited experience of working in a PR agency and I am very happy that my first proper experience was here.

Thinking about what I will take away from the experience, there were the obvious answers. Writing publishable press releases for real clients and compiling media lists will definitely benefit me in my future PR ventures. Reading through tenders and meeting schedules and sometimes joining in myself have been new experiences for me and have contributed to a more rounded knowledge of PR.  I have also overcome proper challenges here. Speaking on the phone has always been something I have struggled with in the past, mainly because I get nervous and mix my words and  get worried about coming across as unprofessional. I now feel more confident to talk to media relations on the phone which is something I am proud to take away with me.

Clearly not because of the free breakfast, although it was a plus, preparing for and attending the Breakfast Club was probably one of my favourite memories with Petersens. I was fortunate enough to come face to face with representatives of key businesses in Cardiff and listen to a talk by Stephen Herring, Head of Taxation at the Institute of Directors (IoD).  I even faced and conquered the ever tricky task of waking up at 5.45am!

But, the most memorable thing that I will take away from the experience is that the working world, at least Petersens’ world, is not full of the doom and gloom that I feared of when I was younger. Being part of such a laid back environment where everyone contributes to ideas, projects and conversations is so reassuring to me as someone who is about to graduate and hopefully work for a company who has this same mantra. Most impressively, the people of Petersens actually care about each other and I am thankful to have worked with such people. I am now motivated to apply for jobs that I felt like I might not be considered for before my placement here.

To sum up, the last ten weeks has been a great experience with some great people, learning the ins and outs of a truly great company!

Katie GOur latest GO Wales student, Katie Griffiths, started a 10 week taster placement with us last week. Here’s how her first couple of days have gone…

Being in my last year of undergraduate study, a combination of excitement to be moving on to greater pastures and the pressure of thinking about my future has resulted in the inevitable; asking the question, ‘what next?’ Besides the rather tempting thoughts of taking time off to go travelling and ‘discover myself’, I got thinking about career paths I wanted to pursue. PR was at the top of my list. As a third year student studying Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University, I have only recently been able to scratch the surface of the PR profession through an optional module this year.  With this in mind and the constant reinforcement that work experience is just as, if not more important, than the classification you come out of university with; I was very keen to get some PR agency experience.

Although learning about the theoretical side of PR has been useful, it was mostly encouraging my urge to gain first had experience. Carrying out a work taster at Petersens is certainly satisfying that urge. When I was chosen by GoWales for the taster, who couldn’t have been more helpful as the in-between team, I was very excited by the prospect of working at Petersens. Considering the reputation and relations that they have built over the last years I was looking forward to being part of their team, discovering their inner workings and completing the day to day tasks they carry out to maintain such a reputation.

On arrival, I was greeted by Sally, who I was lucky enough to meet in her last week at Petersens. She introduced me to Susannah, Louise, Cath and Rob who welcomed me whole heartedly. The relaxed yet productive working environment is clearly what helps Petersens thrive in its field. On my first day I was immediately sorting press clippings, sitting in on briefings and looking over strategies and proposals. This was refreshing and actually useful for me to take away from the experience as opposed to completing trivial tasks. In my second week at Petersens the same remains true and I have been introduced to Eira who is equally as welcoming as the rest.

I now look forward to the coming weeks at Petersens and the opportunities, such as attending the Breakfast Club,  that it will provide.

Breakfast ClubColin Riordan became Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University in September 2012, having previously spent 5 years as Vice Chancellor of the University of Essex. He outlined the University’s inspiring “vision for innovation” to the Cardiff Breakfast Club members this morning.

With around 16,000 undergraduate students, Cardiff University is “an important cog in the region’s economy”. Colin is very aware of the University’s role in and obligation towards the future prosperity of Wales. He called the University an “engine of prosperity for Wales”, and discussed how he intends to closely examine just how it can turn its intellectual and physical assets into economic growth, and improving the quality of life for people in Wales.

To this end, the University recently published “The Way Forward”, a document outlining its strategy and “direction of travel” for the future. This includes an ambition to rank consistently among the world’s Top 100 universities, and in the Top 20 of The Times’ influential university league table.

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Colin Riordan, the Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, outlined the institution’s “vision for innovation”.

Key to this will be the Cardiff Innovation System, a combination of physical and academic resources that will “change the way we do everything” at the University. All the University’s schools and disciplines will work together in a self-sustaining system to feed what Colin called “translational research”: bringing academic research activity into the commercial sector. For example, the business school can provide valuable models and entrepreneurial advice, while the social sciences can examine social acceptance of technologies and undertake “horizon scanning” to suggest the most promising areas for research in the future.

The Innovation System will need physical space, with lab facilities that are available to both commercial and academic researchers. These will have shared social spaces to encourage collaboration and interaction. Colin called these “Serendipity Spaces”, environments conducive to creativity where people from all disciplines can mingle and “spark something”.

This will all be underpinned by close student involvement, to educate the next generation of entrepreneurial innovators. Colin wants students to be as much “innovation natives” as they are “digital natives”; viewing entrepreneurship as a normal part of life. This, combined with leading research expertise and a ready supply of highly qualified graduates will work as a magnet for inward investment, raising the profile of Wales internationally and giving Wales a “reputation for innovation”.

Many of the ideas Colin discussed are still at “a conceptual stage”, and he warmly encouraged Breakfast Club members to actively engage with the University, praising the mutual benefits of strong private-sector relationships.

While engineering such a dramatic change in culture for Cardiff, and for Wales, will be challenging, with the right support in place Colin was emphatic that the plans will succeed, concluding: “Other countries have – and I don’t see why Wales can’t too.”

Eros (3)Last week Petersens welcomed our latest GO Wales student, Eros, who will be with us on a 10 week taster placement.  We invited him to write a blog to tell us a bit more about himself…

I am currently in the final year of my Bachelor’s degree, studying Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University. I chose this particular degree due to my interest in current affairs and communications but I set off with no career path in mind.

In November 2011, I undertook an internship at the European Documentation Centre, a centre specialising in the field of European Union Studies. I decided to apply for this internship as it offered me a chance to attempt something unusual; translating country guides and other EU based documentation into Albanian, as well as learning how to amend the online service. As I approached the final year of my degree, I looked into applying for graduate schemes. I quickly realised that what I was applying for tended to be PR and Communications based jobs. With this in mind, I knew that I would almost certainly need to take on some kind of work experience in this field.

I attended a careers consultation at my University and was informed about Go Wales, who specialise in work tasters. When I applied to Go Wales, I found them to be exceptionally helpful in ensuring that I would gain work experience. I received an email from Go Wales regarding a work taster at Petersens and was instantly attracted to the idea of working for a successful PR firm based in Cardiff namely because it specialises in such a wide range of fields.

Upon my arrival at Petersens, I was greeted by Sally who introduced me to Rob, Eira and Louise, the team instantly made me feel very welcome. What I particularly like about Petersens is that it is not a vast business but a successful business that works extremely well as a team. It is now my third week at Petersens and unlike conventional ‘work experience’, I have already been given an abundance of tasks to complete including: a draft press release, research on clients and an input in the newsletter. My experience so far has been fantastic and the team has ensured that I always have something interesting to do, thus, providing me with the best work experience possible. I would highly recommend the work taster at Petersens to anybody wanting PR experience.