Lies, damn lies and political predictions

Orbit Communications - Graeme Downie 03
Graeme Downie, Director. @graemedownie

Like most pollsters, pundits and political types that have been talking on TV all night and into the early hours I should start this piece by admitting it is entirely likely that what I am about to say is entirely wrong!  I certainly was with my predictions about this election.

I will leave others to talk about the implications of the UK-wide results beyond saying Theresa May will surely go down in history as having committed the biggest act of political suicide in history – or at least since the one her predecessor made a little over a year ago!

For those of us working in public affairs in Scotland who were looking forward to a period without elections after a total of 6 votes in 3 years, with more opportunity to focus on policy issues which matter most to our clients, this seems a forlorn hope.  it is almost impossible to imagine any party governing for anything close to the full 5 years of a Parliament so a further General Election is surely on the cards – the only question is when!

In Scotland, the story of the night will clearly be the fall of the SNP vote and their loss of seats, in particular the loss of high profile figures from their traditional base in rural areas of Scotland such as Angus Robertson, their former leader at Westminster and Alex Salmond, former First Minister.  Those wins for the Conservatives, along with wins in areas such as Stirling and Aberdeenshire signal a clear return for the party to areas of Scotland which were former strongholds in the 1990s and before.  The role of the Scottish MPs could in fact be critical in a UK context and it would be a supreme irony if those MPs make the difference which keep the party in control of Downing Street.  Either way, the result for the party is certainly not something that anyone would have predicted a few years ago and will put an end to the jokes about numbers of Tory MPs and Pandas.

The other story of the night is the extent to which Labour has also drastically over-performed expectations.  Whilst the party was expecting to hold Ian Murray’s seat in Edinburgh South, as well as perhaps winning in East Lothian, they achieved that and a lot more besides, returning MPs from their own traditional heartlands, including winning seats back in Glasgow.  This certainly gives the party a platform and credibility to continue to rebuild.  The difficulty for the Scottish party now will be the extent to which their success may or may not have been down to Jeremy Corbyn, who was opposed by Kezia Dugdale.  It is likely that hatchets will be buried in that regard in the short term at least but it does present a future problem for the party.

For the SNP, it must feel like a disappointing and frustrating night full of contradictions.  They have achieved their second best ever result in a Westminster election and have some right to claim they have “won” the General Election in Scotland.  They also could not ever have been expected to repeat their exceptional result from 2 years ago when they won 56 out of the 59 seats but the scale of their losses will surely have surprised most in the party.

Although Nicola Sturgeon’s position is under no immediate threat, with so many experienced defeated former MPs, particularly from rural areas, able to snipe from the sidelines should they choose, the First Minister could face a rocky period.  Alex Salmond indicated in his concession speech that he isn’t planning on staying quiet in the future.  The First Minister will need to consider a rethink to her long-term strategy to balance the desire of many in her base support for a quick second independence referendum, whilst trying to win back SNP voters which have been lost in this election precisely because they do not want such a vote anytime soon.

It appears that any thoughts of such a referendum will be off the table at least in the short to medium term but the First Minister will face a struggle to hold together the very broad SNP coalition – will she be forced to decide if the party is an urban one or a rural one?

The other question for the SNP is what role they will now try to carve out for themselves at Westminster?  They have offered to support a Labour Government but surely the price you would expect them to demand, a second independence referendum, is perhaps a gift they don’t actually want at the moment as if this election result has taught us anything it is that voters take a dim view of unnecessary elections and tend to react accordingly, as one Mrs T. May seems to have discovered!

So, there will certainly be plenty to talk about at the next PubAffairs event next week which Orbit are delighted to sponsor.  It will take place from 6pm on Wednesday 14 June at Hemma in Holyrood Road so I hope you will come along.  Between us we might even be able to make some sense of what has happened and have a guess at what might happen next!

Andrew Hall: Digital delivers in our classrooms

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Sumdog CEO Andrew Hall

This week marks National Digital Learning Week, an initiative organised by Education Scotland that aims to show how the use of digital technology can enhance learning and teaching, raise attainment and equip young people with important skills for the modern world of work. This year’s theme is “Digital Difference”, with teachers invited to share and celebrate the digital approaches that make a real difference in the classroom.

Coinciding with Digital Learning Week 2017, Sumdog has organised Scotland’s first ever nationwide online maths contest. Over 2000 individual classes from more than 500 schools across the length and breadth of Scotland are signed up to take part. Pupils work together as a class to answer correctly as many maths questions as they can over the period of the contest, which closes tomorrow. The overall winning class will be announced at a special event in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, May 24.

Sumdog is an education technology social enterprise headquartered in the west end of Edinburgh. Used in 88 countries worldwide, our game-based learning system is specifically designed to improve skills and attainment in maths and literacy and is carefully aligned to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. It uses educational games to motivate students in maths, reading and writing.

Sumdog’s unique learning engine gets to know each student, leading them through the curriculum while enabling their teacher to monitor their progress and target help where it’s most needed. With each new skill they master through Sumdog, pupils can earn rewards. The virtual pets they adopt can learn fun new tricks and each correct answer earns a virtual coin which can be spent in Sumdog’s on-screen store.

Most importantly of all, Sumdog is having a meaningful impact on addressing educational attainment in half of all Scottish schools where it is now regularly used. A recent study in Glasgow Council schools shows the huge potential of digital tools like Sumdog. Over a period of six months, the study found that those pupils using Sumdog at least one hour per week progressed three times faster in improving their maths than those who used it very little or not at all.

With a majority of pupils participating in the Glasgow study coming from areas of high deprivation, there is strong evidence that digital tools like Sumdog can make a serious contribution towards meeting the Scottish Government’s mission to close the attainment gap between pupils from the most and least deprived backgrounds.

With digital tools making an increasingly important contribution to modern teaching practices in our schools, National Digital Learning Week is a great opportunity to share positive experiences and to encourage the wider use of digital technology to enhance teaching and improve learning outcomes.

To find out more about National Digital Learning Week, visit http://www.digilearn.scot.

Read more at: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/opinion/andrew-hall-digital-delivers-in-our-classrooms-1-4447242

Let’s empower our learning disabled to lead on change

People with additional needs are helping to make their services and communities better says James Fletcher, director of the Association for Real Change Scotland (ARC)

People with additional needs are helping to make their services and communities better says James Fletcher, director of the Association for Real Change Scotland (ARC)

This week is learning disability awareness week with the theme ‘looking back, thinking forward.’ To mark this, members of the National Involvement Network, a group of over 80 people with learning disabilities or support needs, have decided to hold a unique event in Glasgow called “Hear our voice; 10 years of leading change in our services and communities.’

The event will planned and delivered entirely by people with additional needs with support from ARC Scotland and will be attended by over 180 people who can help shape the future of social care in Scotland.

It will celebrate the remarkable achievements of the members of the National Involvement Network in becoming leaders of change, and highlight their ground-breaking publication the Charter for Involvement.

The Charter for Involvement sets out in their own words how they want to be involved in decisions made about their services and communities.  It does this in a practical and straightforward way that can be understood by everybody.

It avoids the jargon and over-complication that is often introduced by professionals and is a barrier to meaningful involvement and co-production.

Their work has become part of the DNA of Scotland’s social care sector and has already helped to improve the lives of hundreds of supported people across the country.  At this week’s event, a further three organisations will formally commit to putting the Charter into practice- bringing the total to over 50 organisations that are now doing this.

This is making a real difference to work practice and culture within social care organisations and health and social care partnerships in areas such as staff recruitment, training, policy-making and governance.

It is telling that over the past year, members of the National Involvement Network have chosen to focus their attention on speaking with people who have communication difficulties about their experiences of living in their communities.  They have developed a specialised ‘Talking Mats’ framework to do this, and some have undergone training to use it.

Through this work they have helped people to connect with their community resources, such as church and cinema and to express ways in which the support they receive can be improved.

For the members of the National Involvement Network, learning disability awareness week is an opportunity to celebrate their remarkable achievements over the past 10 years.

Lynnette Linton, Chair of the National Involvement Network said “We would like delegates attending the conference to learn what involvement means from the point of view of people who receive support. We hope they will be inspired and motivated to find new ways to hear and include the voices of people who use support services.”

The event is also an opportunity to look to the future and consider how supported people themselves can help social care organisations and the communities they work in to address and adapt to the very real challenges they face.

Learning form the experience of people who receive support (and those who need it but don’t get it) must surely be the foundation for informing the changes still to come within this sector. As Lynnette Linton put it, ‘In future involvement won’t be special, it will just be natural.’

Fortunately, there is a willingness amongst many people to share their experiences in and contribute to finding solutions to sometimes complex issues, such as budget cuts and managing risk.

This valuable resource has yet to be fully realised. To do this, people tell us they must first feel listened to and respected, and to clearly understand how their views will influence the decisions being made.

Meaningful involvement and co-production takes time to do properly, will not always give the answers that are hoped for and may challenge professional assumptions.  However the result is support and community services that are centred around the people that use them.

By this time next year the National Involvement Network aim to have 100 organisations signed up to the Charter for Involvement, and to extend their work to communities out-with the central belt.

 

Council elections – blue surge as horse trading lies ahead

Orbit Communications - Alex Orr 01
Managing Director, Alex Or,  @Alex_M_Orr

Key highlights – 32 out of 32 councils declared

  • Major surge by the Tories saw them increase their number of councillors by 164 from 2012, to 276. Now the largest party in six councils – Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, East Renfrewshire, Perth & Kinross, Scottish Borders and South Ayrshire.
  • SNP has performed at the lower end of expectations, losing 7 seats when compared with 2012 and currently stands at 431. Despite being the largest party in Glasgow, Edinburgh and 16 other councils, it has lost overall control of Dundee and Angus
  • Labour has lost 133 councillors compared with 2012, currently standing at 262 and losing overall control of West Dunbartonshire and South Lanarkshire.
  • Greens and Liberal Democrats flatline.

(due to boundary changes changes in councillor numbers are based on notional outcomes for 2012)

Well, the votes are in and counted and the 1,227 councillors elected across 353 wards in 32 local authorties. You knew it was going to be a good day for the Conservatives when they picked up a Council seat in Gordon Brown’s backyard of Cowdenbeath and other previous no-go areas such as the Highlands and Glasgow.

The Conservatives have indeed made significant gains when compared to the last elections in 2012 and look set to leapfrog the Labour Party in terms of councillor numbers

With elections in Scotland now seen through the prism of the constitutional question, it is only natural that this has been a key focus of each and every election since the independence referendum of 2014. It was inevitable given this and their strong anti-independence, anti-referendum rhetoric, that it was the Conservatives who were set to make strong gains through tactical voting, at the expense of both the SNP and to a greater extent the Labour Party.

There are now dilemmas across the country, with many councils such as Clackmannanshire, Aberdeen and Edinburgh witnessing the SNP as being the largest party as the Tories gain and Labour lose, but with the need to form a coalition or a method of governing.

A weekend and further days of horse-trading now lie ahead in Councils where parties have failed to achieve an overall majority and in which there is currently no overall control. With the SNP pledged not to form coalitions with the Conservatives, there could be some interesting alliances forged, which may see SNP, despite having the largest number of councillors still lose out to a pro-Unionist alliance

Party Councils +/- since 2012 Seats +/- since 2012
SNP -3 431 -7
Conservatives 276 +164
Labour -3 262 -133
Liberal Democrat 67 -3
Greens 19 +5
Independent 3 172 -26
UKIP
No overall control 29 +5

Individual Councils – numbers in brackets refer to 2012 results

Council SNP Labour Cons Lib Dem Greens Ind Control
Aberdeen City 19 (+3) 9 (-9) 11 (+8) 4 (-1) 0 0 No overall control
Aberdeenshire 21 (-8) 1 (-1) 23 (+9) 14 (+2) 0(-1) 10 (-2) No overall control
Angus 9 (-6) 0 (-1) 8 (+5) 2 (+1) 0 9 (+1) No overall control
Argyll & Bute 11 (-2) 0 9(+5) 6(+2) 0 10 (-5) No overall control
Clackmannanshire 8 (-) 5 (-3) 5 (+4) 0 0 0 (-1) No overall control
Dumfries and Galloway 11 (-) 11 (-1) 16 (+3) 1 (-) 0 4 (-2) No overall control
Dundee City 14 (-2) 9 (-1) 3 (+2) 2 (+1) 0 1 (-) No overall control
East Ayrshire 14 (-1) 9 (-5) 6 (+4) 0 0 3 (+2) No overall control
East Dunbartonshire 7 (-1) 2 (-5) 6 (+4) 6 (+3) 0 1 (-2) No overall control
East Lothian 6 (-3) 9 (+1) 7 (+4) 0 0 0 (-2) No overall control
East Renfrewshire 5 (-1) 4 (-2) 7 (+2) 0 0 2 (+1) No overall control
City of Edinburgh* 19 (-2) 12 (-9) 18 (+7) 6 (+3) 8 (+1) No overall control
Falkirk 12 (-1) 9 (-4) 7 (+) 0 0 2 (-1) No overall control
Fife 29 (+4) 24 (-10) 15 (+12) 7 (-3) 0 0 (-3) No overall control
Glasgow City 39 (+8) 31 (-16) 8 (+7) 7 (+3) 0 (-1) 0 (-1) No overall control
Highland* 22 (+3) 3 (-5) 10 (+10) 10 (-4) 1 (+1) 28 (-5) No overall control
Inverclyde 7 (-) 8 (-3) 2 (+1) 1 (-1) 0 4 (+3) No overall control
Midlothian 6 (-2) 7 (-1) 5 (+5) 0 0 (-1) 0 (-1) No overall control
Moray 9 (-1) 1 (-2) 8 (+5) 0 0 8 (-2) No overall control
Na h-Eileann Siar 7 (+1) 0 (-3) 1 (+1) 0 0 23 (+1) Ind Hold
North Ayrshire 11 (-4) 11 (-2) 7 (+6) 0 0 4 (-) No overall control
North Lanarkshire* 33 (+3) 32 (-12) 10 (+10) 0 0 2 (-1) No overall control
Orkney 0 0 0 0 1 (+1) 20 (-1) Ind Hold
Perth & Kinross 15 (-2) 1 (-3) 17 (+7) 4 (-1) 0 3 (-1) No overall control
Renfrewshire 19 (+2) 13 (-11) 8 (+7) 1 (-) 0 2 (+2) No overall control
Scottish Borders 9 (-) 0 15 (+5) 2 (-4) 0 8 (-1) No overall control
Shetland 1 (+1) 22 (-1) Ind Hold
South Ayrshire 9 (+2) 5 (-4) 12 (+2) 0 0 2 (-) No overall control
South Lanarkshire 27 (+1) 22 (-10) 14 (+10) 0 1 (-) 0 (-1) No overall control
Stirling 9 (-1) 4 (-4) 9 (+5) 0 1 (-) 0 No overall control
West Dunbartonshire 10 (+3) 8 (-3) 2 (+2) 0 0 2 (-2) No overall control
West Lothian 13 (-2) 12 (-4) 7 (+6) 0 0 1 (-1) No overall control

*Boundary changes have occurred here. 2012 seats are an estimate of what the result would have been then if the new boundaries had been in place.

Council elections – blue surge as horse trading lies ahead

Key highlights – 32 out of 32 councils declared

  • Major surge by the Tories saw them increase their number of councillors by 164 from 2012, to 276. Now the largest party in six councils – Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, East Renfrewshire, Perth & Kinross, Scottish Borders and South Ayrshire.
  • SNP has performed at the lower end of expectations, losing 7 councillors when compared with 2012 and currently stands at 431. Despite being the largest party in Glasgow, Edinburgh and 14 other councils, it has lost overall control of Dundee and Angus.
  • Labour has lost 133 councillors compared with 2012, currently standing at 262 and losing overall control of West Dunbartonshire and South Lanarkshire.
  • Greens and Liberal Democrats flatline.

(due to boundary changes drops and increases in councillor numbers are based on notional outcomes for 2012)

Well, the votes are in and counted and the 1,227 councillors elected across 353 wards in 32 local authorities. You knew it was going to be a good day for the Conservatives when they picked up a Council seat in Gordon Brown’s backyard of Cowdenbeath and other previous no-go areas such as the Highlands and Glasgow.

The Conservatives have indeed made significant gains when compared to the last elections in 2012 and look set to leapfrog the Labour Party in terms of councillor numbers

With elections in Scotland now seen through the prism of the constitutional question, it is only natural that this has been a key focus of each and every election since the independence referendum of 2014. It was inevitable given this and their strong anti-independence, anti-referendum rhetoric, that it was the Conservatives who were set to make strong gains through tactical voting, at the expense of both the SNP and to a greater extent the Labour Party.

There are now dilemmas across the country, with many councils such as Clackmannanshire, Aberdeen and Edinburgh witnessing the SNP as being the largest party as the Tories gain and Labour lose, but with the need to form a coalition or a method of governing.

A weekend and further days of horse-trading now lie ahead in Councils where parties have failed to achieve an overall majority and in which there is currently no overall control. With the SNP pledged not to form coalitions with the Conservatives, there could be some interesting alliances forged, which may see SNP, despite having the largest number of councillors still lose out to a pro-Unionist alliance

Party Councils +/- since 2012 Seats +/- since 2012
SNP -3 431 -7
Conservatives 276 +164
Labour -3 262 -133
Liberal Democrat 67 -3
Greens 19 +5
Independent 3 172 -26
UKIP
No overall control 29 +5

Individual Councils – numbers in brackets refer to 2012 results

Council SNP Lab Cons Lib Dem Grns Ind Control
Aberdeen City 19(+3) 9(-9) 11(+8) 4(-1) 0 0 No overall control
Aberdeenshire 21(-8) 1(-1) 23(+9) 14(+2) 0(-1) 10(-2) No overall control
Angus 9(-6) 0(-1) 8(+5) 2(+1) 0 9(+1) No overall control
Argyll & Bute 11(-2) 0 9(+5) 6(+2) 0 10(-5) No overall control
Clackmannanshire 8(-) 5(-3) 5(+4) 0 0 0 (-1) No overall control
Dumfries and Galloway 11(-) 11(-1) 16(+3) 1(-) 0 4(-2) No overall control
Dundee City 14(-2) 9(-1) 3(+2) 2(+1) 0 1(-) No overall control
East Ayrshire 14(-1) 9(-5) 6(+4) 0 0 3(+2) No overall control
East Dunbartonshire 7(-1) 2(-5) 6(+4) 6(+3) 0 1(-2) No overall control
East Lothian 6(-3) 9(+1) 7(+4) 0 0 0(-2) No overall control
East Renfrewshire 5(-1) 4(-2) 7(+2) 0 0 2(+1) No overall control
City of Edinburgh* 19(-2) 12(-9) 18(+7) 6(+3) 8(+1) No overall control
Falkirk 12(-1) 9(-4) 7(+) 0 0 2(-1) No overall control
Fife 29(+4) 24(-10) 15(+12) 7(-3) 0 0(-3) No overall control
Glasgow City 39(+8) 31(-16) 8(+7) 7(+3) 0(-1) 0(-1) No overall control
Highland* 22(+3) 3(-5) 10(+10) 10(-4) 1(+1) 28(-5) No overall control
Inverclyde 7(-) 8(-3) 2(+1) 1(-1) 0 4(+3) No overall control
Midlothian 6(-2) 7(-1) 5(+5) 0 0(-1) 0(-1) No overall control
Moray 9(-1) 1(-2) 8(+5) 0 0 8(-2) No overall control
Na h-Eileann Siar 7(+1) 0(-3) 1(+1) 0 0 23(+1) Ind Hold
North Ayrshire 11(-4) 11(-2) 7(+6) 0 0 4(-) No overall control
North Lanarkshire* 33(+3) 32(-12) 10(+10) 0 0 2(-1) No overall control
Orkney 0 0 0 0 1(+1) 20(-1) Ind Hold
Perth & Kinross 15(-2) 1(-3) 17(+7) 4(-1) 0 3(-1) No overall control
Renfrewshire 19(+2) 13(-11) 8(+7) 1(-) 0 2(+2) No overall control
Scottish Borders 9(-) 0 15(+5) 2(-4) 0 8(-1) No overall control
Shetland 1(+1) 22(-1) Ind Hold
South Ayrshire 9(+2) 5(-4) 12(+2) 0 0 2(-) No overall control
South Lanarkshire 27(+1) 22(-10) 14(+10) 0 1(-) 0(-1) No overall control
Stirling 9(-1) 4(-4) 9(+5) 0 1(-) 0 No overall control
West Dunbartonshire 10(+3) 8(-3) 2(+2) 0 0 2(-2) No overall control
West Lothian 13(-2) 12(-4) 7(+6) 0 0 1(-1) No overall control

*Boundary changes have occurred here. 2012 seats are an estimate of what the result would have been then if the new boundaries had been in place.

Another day, another election as Scots voters set to head to the polls for the seventh time in three years

Orbit Communications - Alex Orr 01
Alex Orr, Managing Director

Now that the dust has begun to settle after the Prime Minister’s surprise call of a snap election for 8th June, weary Scots are set to trudge to the polling booth for the seventh time in three years.

Prior to this is the small matter of the local elections on 4th May, a test of the Tory strategy to use these elections to send a message to Nicola Sturgeon of “no to a second referendum”. Indeed, as I write this, the Scottish Conservatives are to put opposition to a second independence referendum at the heart of their local government election campaign.

This is a message that will continue into the General Election. While in the rest of the UK Brexit will be very much to the fore, in Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU, it will be the independence issue that will continue to dominate. Indeed, Prime Minister May has again reaffirmed this view, writing in The Scotsman that a vote for the Scottish Conservatives would send a “clear message” of opposition to the SNP’s “divisive” plans for the second independence vote.

For the SNP, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has highlighted that the General Election will serve to “reinforce” its mandate for a vote on independence. She will also try and frame the election as being between a right-wing Tory party, which wants a hard Brexit, and her message of “elect us to stand up for Scotland”.

If the SNP do as well as predicted, they will claim yet another ‘cast-iron’ mandate to hold another independence referendum. This is why Nicola Sturgeon says that the Prime Minister has made a miscalculation.

Opposition parties will urge Scots to use the election to say no to a further plebiscite.

The challenge facing the SNP is that they did so well in the 2015 election, with 56 out of 59 MPs and falling just shy of half the vote (49.97%), that any fall will be seen by the unionist parties as a victory, a call for no independence referendum.

In the 2015 election Labour trailed in second on 24% (losing 40 of their 41 MPs) while the Conservatives secured 14% and the Liberal Democrats 8%.

With three parties chasing the “unionist vote” and consequently splitting that vote, the SNP clearly have a huge advantage.

Current opinion polls provide little consolation to these parties. The most recent poll (Panelbase/Sunday Times March 2017) had the SNP on 47% (-3% from General Election 2015), the Conservatives, 28% (+13%), Labour continuing its decline on 14% (-10 %) with the Liberal Democrats barely visible on 4% (-4%).

On this basis the Scottish Conservatives, with only one MP in Scotland, are likely to do well, leapfrogging Labour to second place, as they did in the Holyrood elections. They will be targeting constituency seats won at that election, so expect West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk and Dumfries and Galloway to be in the Tory firing line.

Labour will be content to try and hold onto their sole MP, Ian Murray in Edinburgh South, and try and stem the continuing rot. There may also be a sly Labour eye cast to East Lothian, held at Holyrood by former Scottish Labour leader, Iain Gray MSP.

The Liberal Democrats could see an increase in their vote and will target seats they took in the Holyrood elections, such as Edinburgh West, where former SNP MP, Michelle Thomson, now stands as an independent, and North East Fife, held by Liberal Democrat leader, Willie Rennie MSP.

Theresa May has rolled the dice, pitching the General Election in Scotland as a de facto vote on Scottish independence. Expect both the SNP and the Tories to claim that they have rolled double sixes on 9th June.

My internship at Orbit Communications

 

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Abbie Anderson discusses what she learned during her internship at Orbit

Last week (10th – 14th April), Abbie Anderson, a second year English Literature student at the University of York, embarked on a week long internship with Orbit Communications. On her last day, we asked her to write a short blog about her time with us. 

My internship at Orbit Communications has been an amazing experience and I am really grateful for this opportunity. The whole team welcomed me with a smile that quickly eased my nerves. My time at Orbit has been incredibly informative, fun and I can genuinely say it has inspired me to pursue a career in Public Relations (PR) and Public Affairs!

Throughout my short time here, I worked closely with both Sarah and Graeme, whom I would like to thank for taking time out of their busy schedules to converse with me and provided the support and guidance I needed.

During the week, I was given numerous opportunities to experience the different aspects of the company. I was mainly hoping to come away with greater knowledge about PR and Media Relations. Through various tasks, I soon realised my skill set was very much at home in this job. I really enjoy working in a creative environment and being able to write various articles made each day enjoyable.

Following an insightful presentation given by Graeme, I was tasked with writing some press releases and articles. Through my English Literature degree, I have had a lot of experience with writing, but this definitely challenged me. I worked on quite diverse projects relating to Hanover Scotland, the Scottish Association of Landlords and the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition. Each article varied in length and required additional research. I was very grateful to Sarah and Graeme, and all the other staff, who could provide a guiding hand. I loved writing each article and hopefully one might even make it into a newspaper!

On my second day I was invited to attend a meeting with Sarah and Graeme at Hanover Scotland. Through observation, I learnt how important it is to establish a good relationship with your client and how many aspects of a company directly affect PR. I would also like to thank John from BOLD marketing, who took time to explain the purpose of the meeting, and the preparation that had gone into it.

Later in the week, Jordan tasked me with issuing a press release to The Orcadian, a newspaper based in Orkney. After emailing the article to the newsroom, I was asked to ring to ensure they had received it and provide any additional information they may have required. Through this experience, I saw how often Orbit works with newspapers and journalists, in order to gain as much coverage as possible for their clients. I have always enjoyed working with the media, so this is something I look forward to in the future.

The skills and knowledge I have gained whilst being here have given me confidence I did not previously have. Not only do I feel my writing has improved but this week has changed the career that I hope to pursue! I genuinely can’t thank Orbit, especially Sarah and Graeme, enough for this opportunity.