After a serendipitous meeting on a train with TNR’s managing director, Claire Southeard (an anecdote which had my friends and family reeling off National Rail ‘networking’ jokes for weeks), I was fortunate enough to find myself with two weeks of work experience at TNR in London.
As a second year at Leeds University I was used to the questions about what I was going to do out in the big wide world, but I hadn’t given any career that much thought, and if I’m honest I hadn’t given PR any thought at all – I was one of those philistines who didn’t understand the difference between PR and advertising before researching TNR before my placement! So when the opportunity presented itself to do some work experience my first reaction was that at the very least I could cross out a potential future career while adding some much needed padding to my CV. Little did I know how excited the team at TNR were going to get me about the world of PR and Media – or how much I was going to love it. Far from cross out another potential career path, they inspired me to draw a big red circle around PR.
The team gave me a great initial view of what they do by allowing me to sit in on a meeting between their New Business Consultant and one of their Directors with the Press Office of a massive UK company – during which they explained what great services they offer and why they are so effective – one of the main reasons being their links with the Press Association and thus their privileged access to the PA News, Photo and Video wire. I was also sent out on a photo shoot of some very cute children, pictured gardening with Chris Collins, allowing me to see how a photograph can capture and promote a key idea effectively – and how to successfully plant lavender!
I was also sent out with a Press Association reporter to film an interview (and some highly entertaining dance sequences!) with the cast and crew of a new hip-hop and rap political satire musical about Nick Clegg and the last year in politics – all of which gave me a great view of what the ‘fun bits’ of working at TNR were like. In short; fantastic! Nor did the team try and hide the realities of working in PR from me; I’ve watched them trawling through Gorkana to keep up with the latest PR news and catalogued tapes, but I would hardly count those things as ‘not-fun bits’, just not quite as funny as a hip hop musical about Nick Clegg, and in all honesty that’s fairly hard to beat.
As well as sending me out on some very exciting shoots the team also helped me get around London and navigate the labyrinth that is the Tube – which is a truly exasperating experience for a northerner! Tim was kind enough to print me out train times and updated travel information when he sent me out on a shoot and on my first day I left the office laden with ‘tube tips’ from Fran, for example ‘always get on the very front or very back of a train’ and ‘don’t make eye contact’ – apparently striking up friendly conversation on the tube simply isn’t done. The odd (and quite frankly rude) behaviour of the other commuters on the tube only served to highlight the friendliness and warmth of the TNR team – half the enjoyment of any job seems to be who you work with, and this was definitely true of the team at TNR.
To sum up – during my two weeks at TNR I learned a great deal; not just about the world of PR and media in general, but about useful things such as how not to fear the tube, the correct way to drink tea, that everyone loves photography (even if its just a little bit), and so much more. The experience has been invaluable and I simply cannot thank the team enough for everything.
Post by Helen Scurr (Work Experience Intern April 2011)