Leeds City Council and Leeds Metropolitan University have teamed up to help public relations students get on the job training, assist with their studies and boost their employment chances once they’ve graduated.
A partnership between the two organisations has been developing for several years which gives students the opportunity to do real work for a real organisation. It not only benefits the council, it contributes to the student’s learning and can often make a difference to their final grade.
This year, a number of under graduates from Leeds Met’s public relations school have been carrying out various projects to audit different council activities, for instance, investigating issues such as culture and internal communications.
Andy Carter, head of communications said: “There’s no point in getting students in on work experience only for them to sit there watching what the council’s communications team does. Instead, they need to be involved and getting their hands dirty. That’s why our work with Leeds Met is so valuable – the council gets something out of it and the students benefit too.”
One of the latest council and Leeds Met projects is being managed by students Mary O’Shea and Jenny Singh. They are investigating whether the use of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are effective as communications channels for the council’s libraries service. The results will be shared with the authority and used to improve the service.
Shirley Beresford from Leeds Met University said: “We have had a strong relationship with Leeds City Council for many years with a number of our students being offered the valuable opportunity to do some ‘real’ work.
“We’ve carried out a range of projects – such as communication audits – in a number of council departments.
“Feedback from the work is excellent and I’m delighted that we continue to develop new opportunities for students and Leeds City Council in the future.”
Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for communications said: “These students are potential council communicators of the future and I’m delighted that we’re able to offer them the opportunity to work closely with us. Proper ‘on the job’ training is by far the best way of gaining new skills. The fact their work has the potential to help us improve our services is a definite bonus.”
Social networking sites are becoming increasingly popular and are being used by many organisations to support their PR and marketing activities. Mary and Jenny are keen to collect a range of views and have set up a short online questionnaire which they would be grateful if people would complete. It can be found by clicking here.