For the past two weeks we’ve been giving some work experience to Hannah Bowden, a student at York St John University. It’s been great having Hannah on board and showing her what goes on behind the scenes. Hannah kept a diary during her time at RED. Here’s what she wrote…

Being a student in my second year at York St John University I face the issue, like many other students, of finding a career after my degree has finished. To help me gain possible ideas I completed a placement at RED Publications in York during June 2018 where I spent nine days shadowing each area of the business.

RED is an internal communication (IC) agency, specialising in printed and online employee magazines and newsletters for big companies. Their 10-strong team is made up of journalists, designers and internal communication specialists.

During my time at RED I learnt lots of things about the IC industry and how it is all organised with the number of projects that come in day to day from all different types of organisations.

It was interesting to shadow people in the design and writing teams. During my time in the studio I learned more about how different projects were produced and how much time and skill was needed to complete them. Working in the design area of the business was especially enlightening as it was an area which I had never experienced before so it was exciting to watch and understand how projects are brought together from just the text which was given to the designer. The writing area of the business was also fascinating especially as I got to write a weekly news report for an intranet for one of RED’s clients. This was good to experience as it allowed me to gain feedback on my writing and to understand the style and format of the piece of writing.

It wasn’t all sitting and shadowing. I was delighted to take on a project for City of York Council where I promoted and showed RED’s support for their new campaign aimed at getting residents moving more. This was great fun as I was able to write an article to show the business’ involvement in the campaign. This meant getting to know the friendly team which I was working with and write in a more personal style. To see how a project is produced, especially as this was my own work, was brilliant and made me feel like I had achieved something great whilst on my placement.

I was also able to attend the Rutland Regatta hosted by Anglian Water. This was an exciting opportunity to meet new people who are associated with RED and to hear about all the projects which are completed for Anglian Water. It was great to see people in a more relaxed environment, teambuilding and networking outside of their normal workplace.

To say I had a great time on my placement is definitely an understatement. This was an eye opening and fascinating experience which has helped me realise that working in internal communication is very interesting and a possible career for me in the future.

Here’s Hannah’s diary in full…

Day one

On my first day I was greeted by friendly faces who welcomed me to the team which was then followed by an overview of the business and what projects they have completed in the past for all varieties of large companies. Some of the projects included magazines and posters for companies such as Anglian Water and a large pharmaceutical company. I also got to sit in on a team meeting which enabled me to hear about the current projects which the team at RED Publications were completing. This was interesting to listen to as the projects were of all varieties which showed me that the type of work which is taken on by this business is endless. To end the day, I looked at a project in its final stages which was for Anglian Water. I looked over the content and learnt how to signpost any mistakes which may have been made and also learnt how to upload this to a cloud-based server which is used by all the team. This was a very informative day and I look forward to learning more about the business and the projects which are completed here.

Day two

Day two of my work experience at RED was very enlightening. I shadowed the designers, who showed me how the newsletters were put together. This area of the business is one which interested me the most as this is something I had not come into contact with much so was interesting to find out how projects come together into one final finished piece. I then shadowed the Director during a one-to-one meeting with another businessman. The meeting was insightful as it was nice to hear about another business which completes similar projects. It was also good to hear about how other businesses are run and get information on how he got into that trade which showed me that there is no direct route. After this meeting I was then put in charge of RED’s Twitter account which allowed me to research into other internal communication businesses and other sites which are important in this industry. I learnt more about this particular sector and the importance of it within larger companies which furthered my interest into this career. Another very informative day, especially as I was given the opportunity to shadow an employee which enabled me to learn more about what they do to create stories.

Day three

I spent this day with the writing team. This was a learning experience for me, however, it was a positive one. They showed me stories which were earmarked for a weekly news update for one of their client companies and asked me to choose the articles to write up in more detail. I was then given the task of writing the stories in the same format as the previous news updates which I found difficult at first, but once I got started I understood the style of writing which was needed. Before crafting the articles I had to research the subject matter to get an understanding of what was required to fulfil the brief. This day was very interesting as it showed me what techniques and skills are needed to write in a news format and style which is very different to writing essays for my degree.

Day four

I finished the weekly news round-up for the client’s intranet site. This enabled me to understand how a news article is written and which information to include and not to. Writing the article helped me to gain the knowledge of the format and writing style of an article. I then learnt how to upload this to the intranet and what formats everything had to be in for this specific project. Writing the article for the intranet helped me as I was given feedback on what I had written which helps me when writing similar things and how I can improve my writing style. I was then given a project from City of York Council which was a campaign called Move More York. This was an interesting and exciting project where I wrote tweets and a story to promote and show support for the campaign. Again, I carried out research before I started any writing. This was an exciting day as I was given a little project which was interesting to me and also allowed me to do my own work.

Day five

This was another exciting day. This is because I had to write the tweets and story for the campaign that City of York Council is launching in June 2018. The tweets were quite easy to write, however, I had to put all the information needed into each one, such as the website address and hashtag. This was difficult as each tweet had to be unique and this was sometimes difficult as there was only limited information that could be included. The story/article which I had to write was good fun. I learnt about the sports which members of the team at RED Publications took part in which was interesting as one was a sport I had never heard of before (roller derby). The article was interesting to write as it was more personal to the team than the previous one and it may have grabbed my attention more as it was a topic that I enjoyed looking into. This made me realise that sometimes you have to write articles and stories which you may not enjoy writing but there are always some which are more exciting to you than others.

Day six

I spent the day finishing off the tweets and adding to the story for City of York Council’s new campaign, Move More York. This required me to combine all the information I had from my background research and make sure all the necessary information was in the article. This also required me to read through the tweets which I had written to ensure all the hashtags and website details were there as well as ensuring they were cohesive and had all the relevant information in.

Day seven

I completed the story for City of York Council’s campaign, Move More York. This was good as I had finished my own project which felt like I had achieved something great in my placement. I also sat in on a meeting about an upcoming project for RED Publications which was associated with the NHS 70th birthday with their client (a major pharmaceutical firm). It was interesting to see how projects are formed from the brief that they are given from the client and what ideas they come up with of how to best represent the information. Another interesting day especially with finding out about the NHS and how the project will be created by the writers and designers.

Day eight

This was a fun day as I attended the Rutland Regatta hosted by Anglian Water. Held at Rutland Reservoir, employees and business partners get together for a day of water sports and competitions. Networking and teambuilding was the order of the day…and they raised £240,000 for the charity WaterAid. Going to the regatta was a good experience to take part in as I met some of the contacts within the Anglian Water group which helped me understand further what RED Publications do for them. It was also nice to see people enjoying themselves outside of their normal workplace.

Day nine

My final day I spent finishing off my blog for RED Publications so they could post it online and on their website. I also had a final read through my story for the Move More York campaign which Andy, the director, then read over and gave feedback on. This helped me with my style of writing and how to further improve it with different types of writing.

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