Just 12 years after graduating, Craig Spence was playing a vital role in the success of the London Paralympic Games as Director of Communications of the International Paralympic Committee.
“It was a truly amazing and life-changing experience,” recalled Craig. “I managed over 90 people who ensured the stories of the Games were communicated around the world. Not only did we generate more media coverage than ever before, but the Games changed worldwide attitudes towards people with an impairment. Very few jobs can give you that kind of fulfilment and I certainly never thought I would be in a role like this just 12 years after graduation.”
“I enjoyed my time at UCLan and was really impressed with the Public Relations course. I studied hard and then spent most of my holidays working as an unpaid intern for a PR agency. I knew most PR jobs required at least a year’s experience - something difficult to get when you’re studying full-time - so I gained valuable work experience during holidays and built up my portfolio.”
Just 12 years after graduating, Craig Spence (pictured with the Queen on the right) was playing a vital role in the success of the London Paralympic Games as Director of Communications of the International Paralympic Committee.
Craig’s proactivity paid off, straight after graduation he started work at a PR agency in Derby, and after nine months there, he successfully applied for a job at Yorkshire Water. “Whilst the remit of promoting tap water doesn’t sound too exciting, I spent three fantastic years working as part of a great team that won several industry awards.”
“Perhaps the highlight of my time there was coming up with the idea of an April Fool’s Day stunt to ‘launch’ Diet Tap Water. I went on GMTV and pretended to be a scientist who had invented diet tap water. Both Channel 4 News and the Daily Mail fell for it, whilst over 10,000 people called Yorkshire Water to enquire about it! Whilst it was very tongue-in-cheek, we memorably communicated the message that tap water was the best value for money health drink available,” he continued.
From Yorkshire Water, Craig spent three years working for a Leeds based PR agency before, in 2006, landing as the role of Communications Manager for the Rugby Football League (RFL). “It was a great job. I experienced things few people do – such as working at a packed Wembley for cup finals and managing press conferences for the England RL side.”
Craig left the RFL in 2010 and jetted off to Bonn to join the International Paralympic Committee where he heads up their global media strategy.
“I’ve had a great career so far, but working on the Paralympics has topped everything,” commented Craig, “especially when you consider just 12 years earlier I was learning the basics of the PR world at UCLan.”
Top tip for undergraduates: Firstly, come to UCLan! I have come across lots of PR graduates from a variety of universities and you can always tell the ones who studied at UCLan – they have a far greater understanding of how the media works. Secondly, if you want to go into PR, get as much work experience as you can. Even if it’s a few unpaid hours a week – it all helps.