Since its launch in 2009, Learning at Work Week (LAWW) has encouraged businesses across the UK to re-evaluate their internal working strategies. Every year, the date has been used to explore the human capacity to learn, offering top tips to how we can all become ‘lifelong learners’ as well as exploring advantages to businesses that invest in learning and training opportunities for their employees.
Over the past decade, Learning at Work Week has put a spotlight on the importance, and benefits, of continual learning and development, with millions of businesses using the event as an incentive to establish an internal learning culture through business-focused sessions, campaigns, and company brainstorms.
With the event centering around the continual benefits of learning whilst in employment, the PR sector is an industry that relies upon this very ability. Within the industry, practitioners are required to have sector specific expertise to win work; must know how various business markets operate to support client objectives and, with creativity essential to what we do, learning at work, is a key part of the PR job specification.
Finding ways to implement training within a PR firm is relatively simple and bosses should be embracing the incentive. Here, members of the PRCA North West Next Gen Committee and some of their agency colleagues share their top tips to how PR agencies can make the most of Learning at Work Week and ensure that learning continues to remain at the forefront.
Introduce lunchtime learning sessions – Charlotte Greenwood, PR Agency One
Lunchtime learning sessions are a great way for expertise to be shared across an agency, and, between colleagues. Grabbing 20 minutes to run through a new PR tool or showing new employees how to refine content for social media, can be a great way to build learning into the agency culture.
Make use of the content available – Lizzie Horridge, Intelligent Conversation
Since we’ve transitioned to working from home, lots of organisations and training providers have created online webinars and training sessions, covering everything from trends and Q&As to advice and wellbeing.
Make the most of them and listen to them if you have a spare hour during your working day or in the background when you’re doing admin tasks so you can continue learning while we wait for face-to-face training to resume. PRCA has some really insightful videos to watch.
Make the most of your agency’s networks – Natalie Topham, thisismc2
If your agency is part of a network, like the PRCA for example, have a look into the courses and sessions it offers. It’s an opportunity to develop your skills independently, with experienced people outside of your immediate work environment.
Ask senior management to support your development – James Crawford, PR Agency One
Chase your boss to make training happen. While your company’s management team would like to be committed to your training and development needs, sometimes your requests might not be at the top of their to do list. Don't be scared to chase them up. Don’t worry about them being too busy or there not being enough money in the pot because of the pandemic or some other reason. Good managers will feel a sense of duty to organise training for you.
Share what you have learned – Ellie Spellman,thisismc2
Instill the sharing of best practice within the agency. This might be a ‘spotlight’ on a campaign at your regular company catch ups, or even informally sharing great work on internal channels like Teams or Slack.
Make the most of your connections
If you have a good journalist relationship, or know a client who is a brilliant speaker, see if they might be interested in speaking at a ‘learning session’ within the agency. It’ll be a chance to share in their knowledge and experiences (and might earn you brownie points through flattery!)
If you want to find out more about how you can integrate an ethos of learning at your agency, have a look on the PRCA website to see how you can get started.