Three students from Leeds Metropolitan University have been promoting public relations to school pupils.
Three Leeds Met students currently in their second year studying Public Relations with Marketing designed and delivered a presentation and workshop at local Leeds high school, Carr Manor.
They started by giving the class of 20 business studies pupils an overview of university life in Leeds. They described their personal experience of studying PR at Leeds Metropolitan University. Then they explained about public relations through the use of definitions and examples.
The use of video examples, one being the Cancer Research UK anti-sunbed campaign launched to inform teenagers of the dangers of using sunbeds, allowed the pupils to see the creative side of public relations. Showing it to the specific target audience allowed the PR students to see how and if it had any impact. This allowed the pupils to see the importance of relating a campaign specifically to its target audience.
During the presentation they were set two workshop tasks. They were shown two cases of bad media celebrities had received during their career: Kerry Katona on This Morning and Wayne Rooney and his affairs. The pupils were then asked to write the headline and introduction of a press release from the perspective of one of the celebrity’s PR advisers.
They were then asked to organise an event to raise money following the Japanese tsunami and asked how they would obtain press attention for their events.
The one and half session achieved a high level of involvement. The use of workshops allowed the school pupils to learn through practice and was seen as a better approach than talking for the whole session.
The results of the presentation spoke for themselves with 19 out of 20 students finding the presentation useful. 18 out of 20 said that they have a better understanding of what PR is and 12 said that they would consider choosing a PR related degree. The students who gave the presentation were aware that PR would not suit everybody, so the feedback that they received was extremely positive.
Using students to lead the session meant that it was more accessible to the school pupils. The students were in the same situation as the school pupils only a few years ago so were better able to relate to them. They knew what would work and what information they would need to know. Making it as entertaining as it was informative meant that the pupils were interested and involved from the beginning.
“Public Relations is an unknown subject among school pupils as it is not taught or introduced to school or college pupils. In order to ensure that pupils thinking about coming to university choose the correct course, it is important that they are introduced to as many subjects as possible,” said PR student Alicia Chadwick.
“With such a broad range of courses available it is a hard decision to make and the worse thing is to be on a course which you don’t enjoy or does not reach the expectations you had. With the proposed fees for 2012 being so high it is crucial that people coming to university are making the right choices.”
“Many school pupils choose ‘safe’ subjects which leave them with no specialism upon graduating university. This makes finding a job, especially in the current economic climate, difficult. Choosing applied degrees such as public relations creates new opportunities for students as well as allowing the sector to grow.”
Leeds Met students are continuing to give presentations to schools across the Leeds and Bradford areas.