Hometown: Falkirk, Scotland

 

About You

Tell us a little about yourself such as your first degree and any other qualifications, plus if applicable, the most previous job you have held or what you were doing prior to the course.

I am Public Affairs and Communications Officer at Colleges Scotland, the representative organisation for the college sector. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CPIR) and have successfully completed both its diploma qualifications (Public Relations Diploma and Public Affairs Diploma) at QMU.  I also have a BA in Communication from Forth Valley College.

How did you come to choose this course and why QMU?

I signed up for the Public Affairs Diploma as my job was changing to focus more on political engagement. Having previously completed the CIPR Public Relations Diploma at QMU, I knew that this course would give me the knowledge and understanding of policy formulation and public affairs that I needed to work in a more political environment.

Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?

QMU is the only Institute in Scotland which delivers professional qualifications for the CIPR.

"The course has given me the ability to think more strategically about the public affairs process, based on current theory, and it has equipped me with the tools and tactics to communicate more effectively with political audiences."
Joanne Buchan

The Course

What did you hope the course would give you? Career change/progression? Continuing personal development?

I really hoped that the course would provide me with a greater understanding of public affairs and give me the tools and knowledge to be able do my job to the best of my ability, and it did just that.

How did you find the work load? Could you comment on the support available to you?

The workload was challenging, especially whilst working full-time. The assessments and assignments were well planned out however, which made it achievable.

Did you work during the course? If you had a scholarship or bursary how did it help you with your studies?

I worked full-time during the course.

How do you think your QMU degree has equipped you with the skills/knowledge to develop your career?

The course has given me the ability to think more strategically about the public affairs process, based on current theory and it has equipped me with the tools and tactics to communicate more effectively with political audiences.

What top tips would you give prospective PG students based on your own personal experience?

Start thinking about your research project early. I would also suggest doing some reading and research every day.

What obstacles did you encounter (if any) during your studies and how did you overcome them?

The main challenge was juggling a full-time job whilst studying, so planning my days (including some relaxation time) was essential. The staff at QMU were really helpful and Magada Pieczka is an excellent tutor.

Life After Graduation

Where are you now? Do you have any further future plans?

I continue to enjoy my position at Colleges Scotland but feel I have progressed a great deal in this role since completing the Public Affairs Diploma and making a real difference.

Anything that you might have done differently?

I only wish I had done it sooner.

CIPR Diploma in Public Affairs Practice

Want to study here? Find out more about this course…

Course Information