In a competitive industry, getting your foot in the door is vital to securing that all-important first job after graduation. For Louise Roocroft, a combination of practical skills and hands-on experience helped her break into the world of public relations – and the ongoing support of Edge Hill University has enabled her to stay there.
“What I loved most about my degree was the opportunity to learn the kind of skills employers are looking for, then practice them with real clients. I was able to hone my key PR skills, like writing press releases, presenting pitches and organising events, throughout the programme, then in the third year I worked as part of an ‘agency’ on a live client campaign to get a feel for what a real job in PR is like.
“I also gained lots of first hand experience through work placements with a range of different companies, including BBC Radio Merseyside, St Helens RLFC, Punch Taverns and in Edge Hill’s own press office. This experience not only boosted my CV but also led to my first job after graduation – a 12-month internship with Punch Taverns. The fact that they knew me and what I could do helped to break down that initial barrier and allowed me to get my first step on the job ladder.
“After a few years in the industry I took some time out to have my children. When I decided to go back to work, I was again able to call on the support of my tutors at Edge Hill who recommended some more work experience to bring my CV up to date and helped me get up to speed with developments in the industry, particularly around social media which wasn’t really on the syllabus when I did my degree. This gave me the confidence to apply for roles that required social media skills and I secured a job as a Communications Officer for Warrington Health Plus, a company that oversees 26 local GP practices. I’m now about to take on a senior role with the NHS NW Coast Academic Health Sciences Network, a job that gives me regional responsibilities for the first time.
“It’s some years since I graduated but I’m still putting things I learnt on my course into practice in my job. The programme gave me a hunger for responsibility, a belief in my own ability and a strong foundation of skills and knowledge to get a job in PR. The support I’ve had from my tutors has been above and beyond my expectations – and I know their door is always open, no matter where I am in my career.”