Industry News

Three students of IoIC’s diploma courses share their experiences.

Whether kickstarting a career or giving experienced internal comms practitioners an academic qualification, IoIC’s diploma courses offer fresh skills and valuable knowledge for professional development.
 
The Foundation diploma, equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree, suits professionals at the start of their IC careers who are looking to gain key skills, as well as those with more advanced IC experience who want to formalise their knowledge. The Advanced diploma, assessed at a final-year undergraduate level, is aimed at professionals looking to progress their careers. This qualification demonstrates mastery of tactical and planning skills and an understanding of the organisational and business issues expected at manager level.
 
Laura Vallis-Wain (left), head of internal communications at Caffè Nero, lives and breathes communications every day, but hadn’t had any formal training. As part of her continued professional development, Laura was keen to undertake some structured learning and, after researching her options, signed up for the IoIC Advanced diploma.
 
“The Advanced diploma has given me the one thing I often fail to allow myself – time,” says Laura. “I have spent time researching and gaining a broad understanding of internal communication practices. The course required me to focus on my own career and development opportunities, which is an indulgence rarely allowed. The IoIC competency map enabled me to fill any gaps in my strengths and knowledge, making me a more rounded and effective communicator.
 
“One of the other amazing things about this course is how it has linked me with a cohort of other IC professionals, and I have developed some supportive relationships. We talk frequently and share best practices.” 
 
 
Raising awareness of IC’s remit
 
Ben Gogan (right), assistant project manager at Southern Water, having previously worked in the company’s internal comms team for 11 years, started a Foundation diploma after becoming an IoIC member.
 
“I have drummed up plenty of on-the-job experience, but I have never had the opportunity to get a qualification that verifies whether I was actually any good at it. The course cements what you already know, but, more importantly, highlights things that perhaps hadn’t occurred to you. It helped me become more aware of a broader internal communications remit and enabled me to pull on these and add them to my IC repertoire.”
 
Ellie Barrington (below) started working for internal communication agency blue goose after finishing her A-levels, and her employers thought it would be beneficial for her to have a goal to work towards in her first six months.
 
She took up a place on the Foundation diploma course, which exceeded her expectations. “Doing the IoIC Foundation diploma not only allowed me to get a recognised qualification in internal comms, but also laid the foundation for the skills and knowledge I need in my role. It has provided me with a firm foundation for the rest of my career. I learned best practice for a number of skills and why doing these things are important to a wider project. The course has effectively started my career in internal comms.
 
“For me, the most valuable aspect was the portfolio. It gave me a guide on literature to read and the practical skills and knowledge that I needed to demonstrate. Putting together the portfolio encouraged me to get involved with a number of different projects that covered a range of areas.”
 
Ben adds that the support from IoIC was “terrific” and notes that the free resources via the university portal allowed for “really good home schooling – as long as you’re willing to put the time in”. Laura also praised the support from IoIC, particularly the course facilitator, who was “always on hand to coach and mentor or just have a chat”.
 
 
Providing tools and direction to grow professionally
 
Ellie says the course has given her learning added direction. “Demonstrating that you have certain skills and knowledge really makes you evaluate just how good you are at them. Going forward it teaches you how to think critically about the decisions you are making and also about the theory behind each one.” 
 
Ben says the recognition from a top internal communications body has given him confidence as an IC practitioner. “The detailed feedback received after the diploma is extremely insightful,” he says. “The Foundation diploma makes you analyse why we, as IC practitioners, do what we do and makes you truly understand the value of our work. Getting recognition and verification that you know what you’re talking about from such a professional body can’t hurt either.”
 
“Any sort of learning is valuable,” concludes Laura, “but the IoIC Advanced diploma drives excellence in many ways, from linking you to a supportive network, excellent mentor and fantastic training courses, to providing structure and toolkits to enable you to grow professionally.”
 
Both the Foundation and Advanced diplomas are accredited by Southampton Solent University. Students receive an online library account with the university that allows them to access all required course readings, plus books, academic journals and articles, as well as materials to support Harvard referencing and academic writing.
 
As part of the diploma, students receive two free IoIC training courses, allowing them to tailor the programme to meet their individual learning needs. Diploma students are supported throughout their studies from the IoIC head office team and assessor Fran Broady.
 
For information or to register interest for 2018’s intake, email [email protected]

Photo credit (Ben Gogan): Ed Robinson/OneRedEye
 
 

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