Creative Lives — Marketing student Lynn Irungu on the benefits of a placement year
For Lynn Irungu, a year-long placement at reputable PR agency The Academy was the opportunity to get some experience in the world of PR part-way through her degree at Birmingham City University. Spending her time delving into a wide range of projects, Lynn says the highlight of her new position is learning from the team around her. Here, she speaks to us about how she weighed up whether to take a sandwich course and the benefits of The Academy’s open and supportive work culture.
PR Graduate [placement year]
BA Marketing (Advertising and Public Relations), Birmingham City University (2017–2021)
Lynn in the studio
How would you describe your role at The Academy?
I’ve been supporting different teams with planning, reporting, liaising with media and assisting with events and productions.
How did you land your current job?
I was on the hunt for a placement like a lot of students in my year, which was a painful process to say the least. I really wanted to do my placement in London so I began my search for the right fit and I was immediately drawn to The Academy after seeing the work that they do. I sent over my CV and I was in London for an interview a few days later. Everything happened very quickly and I was ridiculously happy to be joining the agency later on that year.
How did you decide whether to do a placement year or not?
I wanted to do a placement year even before I knew what I wanted to study! This year was always imperative for me in order to feel prepared to go into work when I finish university. I think wanting to try out a career path before fully committing to it, and finding out what I actually enjoy, was important to me. I also think I develop more by putting what I learn into practice and I already feel more prepared for my final year.
How do you feel your studies have helped with your role?
With my course especially, you’re required to work with your peers and produce work for ‘clients’. I believe this has given some experience of how to work within a professional environment. So I’d say it’s helped me take responsibility for my own work and produce content at a high level.
“Everyone at the agency is approachable and so willing and determined to help you to improve.”
Work by the Academy
Any differences in working in PR compared to learning about the industry at university? Has the job fulfilled your expectations?
Working in the industry is exciting. The biggest difference is probably seeing your work actually come to life, rather than being submitted for grading! It gives you more to think about than a hypothetical audience and campaign – it’s real life and people will actually be responding to something you’ve done.
What do you enjoy most about working at The Academy?
Undoubtedly the people. Everyone at the agency is approachable and so willing and determined to help you to improve. I feel comfortable asking questions and can ask for help from absolutely anyone, whether it’s one of the directors or another graduate – no one is too busy or unwilling to help you if they can.
Also, the variety is something I look forward to. One day might be a normal day at the office and the next day might be a huge event. I’m really interested in the creative aspects of the job so being able to take part in all of the different types of creative tasks is great for me.
How will your learning at The Academy feed into your final year?
I think I’ll have an all-round better understanding of my course after having real-life experience. I can now relate things I’ve learnt during my placement year into my work and use my learnings to produce better work. I think I’ve improved during this year, specifically with my work ethic, work presentation and confidence.
Work by The Academy
Words of Wisdom
What advice would you give to a young creative wanting to get into a similar line of work?
Try to get some PR and marketing experience while you’re still in education and stay actively involved with the creative things that inspire you.
The Academy is a Lecture in Progress agency partner. Every year, Lecture in Progress partners with like-minded brands and agencies to support our initiative and keep Lecture in Progress a free resource for emerging creatives. To find out more about how you can work with us, email [email protected]