Conference Report: Speaker Caroline Thorley | BCU Careers and Job Prospects

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Speaker Caroline Thorley started with showing a YouTube video about awareness.

How aware are you?

Did you spot the moonwalking bear?

Sometimes at University your awareness can be stunted due to the constant ambient noise of events promotions, (which is definitely a good thing), but Caroline wanted to use her opportunity as speaker to promote the upcoming Courses and Career Management Workshops going on in the Careers Service. Where at each and every one there will be FREE LUNCH!

You can find a full list of the upcoming events on their calendar at

I’ve also took the liberty of screen shotting the calendar below, where, by the way, should you choose to attend, there will be FREE LUNCH!

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this one next

There will be opportunities for you to attend lunchtime workshops, 1-3 day courses, enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes as well as webinars and web chats, so even if you aren’t in Birmingham over the May/June period, you can still access any careers advice you need.

One of the key events Caroline spoke about was the Frontrunner 3 Day Leadership Programme. They are keen to diversify the people who attend that course, ensuring that there is people from a range of faculties, as most of the Aspiring Media Professionals at BCU will end up in a leadership role of some kind, whether it be at a radio station or TV studio. The course will give you great foundational skills for these roles that you can demonstrate to potential employers.

I attended the course myself in March. Being accepted onto the course was a great opportunity to develop my leadership skills and hear first-hand from leaders of local and national companies about their experiences and what they look for in leaders of the future. At the end of the course, I have developed my leadership skills, applied them to real work challenges and improved my confidence.

The RIE Enterprise Mind-Set Programme will be of great use to students who have an idea that they may wish to develop. You can also get some insight into how business works and get the run-down on becoming a freelancer, as well as tips on setting up your own business.

The Lunchtime Workshops are great for people who don’t have quite as much time to spare. There will be general workshops on the job market such as CV’s and interviewing, but there will also be more specific workshops running, tailored towards industry (teaching, charity, working abroad) or employability skills (networking, career development, commercial awareness).

It was stressed the amount of free opportunities you get in Univesity that you won’t have access to when you graduate. It is therefore crucial that you make the most of these while you can. Whether you want tips on becoming a global graduate, CV advice or a mock interview, the BCU Careers and Job Prospects service can offer it all! As well as a FREE LUNCH!


By Jodie Neville



 Talent was rife at Birmingham City University Media Department’s networking event on 9 May 2014.

‘Into The Future’, a concept created by second year students to showcase their skills to media professionals successfully demonstrated that Birmingham City University does have talent.

Ruta Lukauskaite, a second year photography specialist originally from Lithuania said, “it was my first ever experience of a professional presentation and I found it useful to summarise what I am about, and also to let people know who I am”. Ruta’s presentation showcased remarkable photography skills, and clearly showed the level of work opportunities that have opened up to her since starting at Birmingham City University.

Thomas O’Connell, head of the promotional team for Into The Future added: “I was a bit skeptical at first and the thought of organising the promotional material for an event of this scale was overwhelming, but I think it’s really come together well. Everyone’s pulled together and the presentations showed just how far we’ve come in the last two years”.

The day began bright and early (a lot earlier than most students are used to!) at 8am with a variety of media professionals taking centre stage at Parkside’s brand new lecture theatre. Selina from Little Miss Creative was the star of the day, grabbing student’s attention by showing an image of a prison cell that she spent the night in at the tender age of 16. Her remarkable efforts and shining personality was infectious – the presentations that continued after her talk reflected the confidence that she delivered.

“I could really relate to Selina’s talk. I grew up in a similar neighbourhood and I never pictured myself going into further education. Truly inspiring woman” says Jonathan Woodall, a mature student at Birmingham City University.

Selina added: “I want to say that today was really inspiring, there are so many opportunities that students can take hold of. Grab them – when you leave uni you’re going to have to pay for them!”

Selina is an ex BCU media student and now runs her own women’s workshop, aiming to give a voice to aspiring creative women to create the next generation of free thinking female leaders that will inform and shape the future. Selina aims to take her ideas global – starting with New York and China in three weeks’ time.

Little Miss Creative will be holding a ‘clothes swap’ at The Rainbow, Digbeth on 17 May. For more details visit

Written by Suzie Parsons

Lack of Diversity in PR

This blog post will assess the lack of diversity in PR. In particular, I will discuss Lisa Moore’s “Diversity in PR is a whitewash” article, which was published by PR Week. The article was based upon the 2013 PR Census.


Main Points

The article discussed the lack of diversity in PR. In particular, Moore highlighted the following:

  • Historically, PR has been seen as an industry dominated by white, middle-class graduates. The 2013 PR Census found the industry is still heavily populated by these demographics.
  • Only 6% of those working within the industry are ‘non-white.’
  • The lack of diversity offers few networking opportunities or role models for people across a range of backgrounds.
  • The industry is trying to counteract this problem. In particular, the CIPR and PRCA have programmes promoting diversity. In addition, paid internships and apprenticeships are steadily gaining support.
  • Promoting diversity will allow the industry to source a range of recruits. In turn, this will help PR create campaigns which resonate across society.


It is perhaps ironic – given the fact I’m white, middle-class and an ‘almost graduate’ – that I have suffered from the industry’s lack of diversity. The majority of placements are unpaid. However, unless they come from a wealthy background, most applicants are unable to work for free.  This problem is further exacerbated by the lack of PR presence across the country. If you’re working for free, can you afford to relocate? Londoners don’t worry! KeyNote reports that 51% of agencies are based in the capital. However, those in the West Midlands have less opportunity; with only 12% of agencies based in the region.

Birmingham hasn’t quite taken the PR bull by its horns

Birmingham hasn’t quite taken the PR bull by its horns

Inevitably, PR must employ the most capable professionals; who support their work. However, improving diversity could help the industry achieve this objective. In particular, I would argue that paid placements are integral to supporting this change. The use of paid placements would allow equal opportunity for people of differing ethnicity, location, age and class. In turn, this could help the industry become more creative and thus useful as a service.

As mentioned previously, the industry is already trying to counteract this problem. However, the 2013 PR Census shows that PR is still suffering from a lack of diversity. Therefore, I would argue that further work must be completed in this area. In addition, I feel it is important for budding professionals to create their own opportunities. For example, you can work with local businesses within your area.

Final Word

The PR industry is unlikely to change overnight. For the majority of budding professionals, it is likely you will work for free. I’ve relocated for unpaid placements and lived on a shoestring budget. However, it’s important you know your worth! You may not be paid, but are you gaining a wealth of experience? If so, then you may need to adopt the beans and air diet for a while…

Do you feel that PR lacks diversity? Should unpaid internships be outlawed? You can discuss these topics, with the PR gurus of tomorrow and the industry leaders of today, at Birmingham City University’s Into The Future. The event takes place May 9th at Millennium Point. Free tickets available here:

by Thomas O’Connell