A passion for the English language and an appreciation of the transferable skills an English degree would give him lead Scott to UCLan, and set him on the road to holding political office and becoming an award winning author.
“I have very happy memories of my time at UCLan,” said Scott. “Initially I was unhappy about going away to University, but as soon as I got to Preston it was great fun. I remember a friendly place with a great atmosphere, whilst the course itself was academically fulfilling and I gained a great deal from it. Reading, interpreting and discussing a wide range of texts really developed my written and oral communication and analytical abilities - skills which are important in almost any job.”
After leaving UCLan “without a clue” what career he wanted to go into, Scott took a Masters in English before finding work as a Researcher in the House of Commons for his local MP. “The moment I walked into Parliament for the first time, I knew this was what I wanted to do,” recalled Scott, who spent a year in the role before becoming an advisor to the Conservative Shadow Cabinet where he spent three years running national campaigns and research.
“I had three great years with the Conservatives, before joining a public relations consultancy where I advised a host of FTSE-100 companies on their political communications,” explained Scott. “It was at this point I stood for election as a local authority councillor winning an ultra-marginal constituency. The four years I spent representing nearly 6,000 residents was humbling and perhaps the highlight of my time in office was applying my skills to design and lead a successful campaign to save the last remaining Post Office in Reigate.”
Scott then spent time working as an in-house political advisor for BAA before, in October 2009, joining leading public relations consultancy RLM Finsbury where he currently works. “After being promoted in to Partner in January 2013, I now provide political advice for a range of board level executives.”
In addition to providing political advice to FTSE-100 executives, Scott published a book in 2011 giving the wider public access to his knowledge of advocacy. How to Use Politicians to Get What You Want won the Atticus Award for best Public Relations book and aims to provide an informal guide of the most effective ways for people assert their rights as both a consumer and citizen, something Scott believes to be his “greatest achievement to date.”
Reflecting on his time at UCLan, Scott commented: “I learnt to look after myself and it certainly broadened my view of the world. Perhaps most importantly, it fired my intellectual curiosity which is very valuable, especially when you’re working in areas of complex political policy.”
TOP TIP FOR UNDERGRADUATES: Whatever you choose to study, make sure you are passionate about it - three years is a long time to maintain interest in something you’re not interested in. Don’t worry too much about what job you’re going to do at the end of it, provided you have ability, intellectual curiosity and make the most of the opportunities which come your way – you’ll be fine.