Rolling out the red carpet for comms courses

Last week I discovered a brand new internal comms blog by IC pro, Chris Gamble and only a few days later, found myself in the same room as him and encouraging him to write – such is the small world of comms!

We were both present at the PR Academy Awards in London, where I was presenting some of the awards. Regular readers will know that I’m a keen advocate of comms courses and qualifications.

I actively encourage students as I’m contacted frequently by IC pros at all levels of comms experience who are looking for advice, guidance and resources, particularly when they are studying. This year I’m leading teaching sessions at Kingston University and London College of Fashion on social media and internal communication.

Each year, students with the best overall distinction on each of the PR Academy courses are recognised. When there is more than one, judges are asked to choose a winner based on coursework, and I was one of the judges.

Congratulations to the PR Academy Award winners with an overall distinction (pictured). They are:

  • CIPR Public Affairs Diploma
    Hannah Young
  • CIPR Diploma in Public Relations
    Matt Hartley, Senior Media & Communications Officer, Personal Finance Education Group
  • CIPR Advanced Certificate in Public Relations
    Marc Breton, Assistant PR Manager, Supersavers
  • PR Academy Digital Communication Certificate
    Andrew George, Communications Officer, South Wales Police
  • CIPR Internal Communication Diploma
    Sonia Martinez-Roura, 
Assistant Librarian, British Medical Association
  • CIPR Internal Communication Certificate
    Helen Duffett, Internal Communications Manager, Liberal Democrats

Chris has just started to write An IC Journey and has written a guest article for my blog about the Internal Communications Diploma he has just completed at PR Academy. Over to you Chris…

An IC journey
I was delighted to have been invited to attend the PR Academy awards at the Groucho Club in London’s Soho district recently. The event, which celebrates students who gained a distinction in their topic area from the prior year, provided a great opportunity to catch up with classmates as well as meeting some other IC enthusiasts too.

Whenever you put a bunch of communicators in a room together with free nibbles and drinks, it’s always going to be a lively atmosphere. However, over the surrounding rumble of conversation I did manage to have a good chat with Rachel about all things IC, learning and blogging.

Given the event, it was quite fitting that Rachel was keen to understand more about my learning experience, which I was more than happy to talk about – typical communicator!

My learning journey
The most beneficial thing I took away from the Internal Communications Diploma was the level of application. I was attending a full-day session on a Saturday and going into work on Monday with a list of things I wanted to implement. At first I thought it may be me being a bit over enthusiastic, however the course maintained its level of practicality with the introduction of guest speakers (often from a practitioner background).

For me, both Tom Crawford and John Smythe made the biggest impressions. Both presented in an utterly engaging, often comical manner, but what cut through the most was the ‘I should, and could, be doing that moments.’

I should, and could, be doing that moments
Tom spoke at length about the split personality required to be an IC’er – from the court jester, being the one who brings something different, creative and entertaining; to the coach who can challenge outdated lore.

John on the other hand provided a revolution in the way I think about IC and employee engagement: Don’t be afraid to give your people the ability to ‘co-create’ your comms.

The key thing in both of these ‘moments’ was that not only did I feel I should be doing these things – I felt like I could, and straight away. So I did, I would go back into work and start applying these ideas on new campaigns or presentations. And so my credibility and confidence grew, strengthening the learning loop.

The difference
Talking to Rachel on the evening I explained how I think the key difference between the PR Academy course and most university study is the level of application. Without the ability to practice what you are learning, I think the theories, models and approaches just don’t stick. Am sure anyone who has tried (and failed, like me) to learn a language or instrument will agree.

Post author: Chris Gamble.

Thank you for sharing your insights into your learning journey Chris. Do add his blog to your blogroll and let Chris know your feedback on his post by commenting below, tweet him @cmgamble87 or me @AllthingsIC. Thanks as ever for stopping by, Rachel.

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