With our celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, today we hear from Fiona McKnight-Burton, Communications Coordinator at Head Office, who is five months into a Level Four Diploma in Public Relations.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship, it’s giving me a solid foundation and the chance to develop new skills which I can put to good use in my role as Communications Coordinator.

Developing new skills

“As part of the course I get to focus on fundamental behaviours, skills, knowledge and responsibilities of marketing/PR within Landmarc and I get to choose some modules myself which will be chosen to meet the needs of the business.


“For example, I’ve just completed an assignment on the ‘Use of social media to maximise engagement’. This has allowed me to evidence my knowledge, understanding and ability to use social media in order to maximise engagement for our Landmarc followers.

“Developing these new skills not only makes the course really interesting but will also help me in my day-to-day job as I can put them into practice and be more efficient and confident in my abilities.


Balancing work and study

“Getting back into the mindset of studying has been a little challenging but being able to set aside a study day each week has been really helpful in getting the work/study balance right. I try and plan my study for the same day each week so that it becomes routine for both myself and the rest of the team, but it’s entirely flexible and if I need to attend a PR event, conference or site visit instead of studying I just swap the days around everyone is supportive of this.

“Having people around you who support your self-development is crucial. Both my line manager and my mentor Mary are great. I have a good relationship with Mary and we talk on a weekly basis most of the time, even if it’s just for five minutes. Mary sets the structure for my work and provides on-going support when I need it.


Thinking outside the box

“Not only will I get a national qualification at the end of the apprenticeship, that is equivalent to a Foundation Degree, but I will also increase my expertise in the PR world; whether that’s writing, event management, creating new ideas or brand awareness through social media platforms, meaning that I’m gaining new techniques and tools to really push myself whilst building my confidence, developing my writing skills and being social media savvy. The course definitely makes you think outside the box and gives you the tools to communicate effectively.

“As I work my way through the course, I feel more confident at work and believe it will enhance my ability to do my role. I’m finding the whole experience very valuable and I look forward to building a career in Communications.