Working together

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By Kerrie Oxford


  • Insight
  • Marketing
  • Nielsen McAllister news
  • PR experience
Having spent the last five weeks working from home, it’s amazing how quickly it has become the new norm. Now, the usual commute and office routine has been replaced by my current home set-up, which includes managing an over-eager office dog whilst working remotely from the dining room table!

Sat at table

Only a couple of months ago, I adapted my office working routine to accommodate my youngest son Rhys, who completed his week’s work experience with us at NMPR.

Rhys, like most of his peers, has no clear idea of what he’d like to do when he leaves school. This is one of the many reasons why work experience is mandatory for all Year 10s – giving inexperienced students an opportunity to explore a variety of options.

Being quite creative, Rhys had previously helped me design some supporting visuals for a local cancer charity I was a trustee of. It had sparked an interest in the creative/design industries and it was the reason why he’d enquired about joining me at NMPR for his placement.

At desk

Despite initial reservations, and a stern briefing on how to behave in an office environment, Rhys joined the Nielsen McAllister team to learn about all things PR – and it’s fair to say that the week that followed surprised us both.

I learnt that behind the teenager I’d come to know (which I won’t go into details about here) was a hard-working, well-mannered and enthusiastic young man, who proved himself capable of working well as part of a professional team.

The placement gave Rhys the opportunity to broaden his skill set and a chance to work out if this would be a good fit for him career-wise; a PR test-drive so to speak. It also gave him an insight into what it is I actually do each working day!

A greater understanding

As the week progressed, our young apprentice came to understand more about what PR entails and why it is of value. He discovered that the work is often varied – from writing and sending press releases to the traditional media, to devising content and creating explainer videos for social media.

Rhys also gained an appreciation of how hard we work and was surprised at how much goes on behind the scenes in order to strategically manage our clients’ communication and messaging, using a variety of channels. I especially liked the comment he wrote in his work-experience journal, describing PR professionals as being the ‘keepers of a company’s reputation.’ I think I may even have gone up in his teenage estimation, albeit only slightly.

“I’ve had a busy week with the NMPR team – learning how creative the world of PR is but also how structured it can be behind the scenes. I’ve enjoyed creating a short video for social media, looking at ideas and devising posts for social media, and I’ve even had a go at writing a blog! I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the world of communications and I’m now considering PR as a possible career”

At desk

Having a fresh pair of eyes can also be invaluable to the rest of the team too, or so I kept telling myself as my son asked more and more questions! Having to stop and explain why you’re doing something makes for good working practice, even though reflection while working is often overlooked when trying to juggle impending deadlines and busy workloads. I also learnt a few invaluable technical shortcuts from my computer whizz-kid, when his question “why are you doing it this way?” was followed up with “why don’t you try this?”

It was great to see that Rhys wasn’t afraid to speak up in our team meetings either and was able to contribute some relevant ideas around the boardroom table. In fact, he was able to put forward a pretty convincing argument as to why more traditional-led companies should be utilising Instagram more as part of their overall social media strategy.

And the future holds…

The work placement was, to my utmost relief, a great success all round. The experience helped Rhys develop his existing skill set while also showcasing creative talents I didn’t know he had! It also served as a stark reminder that, in only a few short years, my son will be entering a highly competitive job market. Encompassing the skills, routines and habits of ‘real work’ will not only look good on his cv but will also help prepare him more for the world of work, and what will be expected from him.

Additionally, our shared working experience has proved invaluable in the current climate, helping us both adapt to our new working-from-home routines. Knowing how important his school grades will be in securing a position in a competitive industry, Rhys has buckled down and got on with his school work, which is currently being sent to him online.

He also now has a real understanding of my workload and the deadlines I’m working to meet, whether I’m based in the office or working remotely from our dining room table, and he has so far refrained from pestering me too much during the working day.

At desk

Now, if only I could get another family member to appreciate this…

If you’re thinking about a career in PR and would like to find out more about completing a work placement at NMPR, please get in touch with the team to find out more.

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