Tuesday, 8 December 2009
But it didn’t mean that at all. What it did mean was something far more deep and meaningful.
I come from working class Italian parents, parents who came to England, parents who had no experience of further let alone higher education. They encouraged me in my studies and enshrined within me an appreciation of all learning regardless of subject. For them, if their son was interested in it then it was worth studying.
Interest. Curiosity. These are the things that spurred me on. My parents didn’t understand why I wanted to go to university. My father took me aside one day and said to me “Son, I see students work all the time for nothing! Wasting time before getting their hands dirty in the real world. By the time you get a degree you could be a manager in a ‘real’ job!” They didn’t understand. But they supported my stubborn will regardless. I wanted to go to university.
Then I came across a problem. My first major hurdle. How was I going to pay for it? I started doing the maths. Money for accommodation; money for bills; money for books; money for transport; money for food; and money for drink (very important!). It all started adding up.
My parents tried but were unable to support me. What was I to do? What I had spent my life studying for? My goal seemed dead in the water.
But then I heard about the Dangoor Scholarships. I heard that an incredible man had decided out of the kindness of his heart, with no personal gain whatsoever, to financially support students. Young people who had the same curiosity and interest that he had when he came to London to study engineering all those years ago. His name is Naim Dangoor.
Dr Dangoor realised that money should not be an obstacle to education. Dr Dangoor realised that hard work and a meticulous attention to your studies gets you a world class education – something that money can help, but not buy.
I was lucky enough to receive a Dangoor Scholarship. It would be naive to think that it alleviated all of my financial woes, but it helped just that little bit. It meant that I could work at my part time job 2 days a week instead of 5. It meant that I could read my journals and write my essays and temporarily ignore my monetary worries.
The scholarship did not solve my financial difficulties whilst at university. Hard work and good planning did. But it alleviated them just enough so that I could focus on my degree; focus on co-curricular activities like volunteering in my local community, focus on working with my students’ union - supporting students like me who had come under similar hardship.
There is no doubt in my mind that the scholarship helped me. The generosity of Dr Dangoor ensured that I could grab higher education by the horns and live my university life to the full. Something that, in hindsight, I might not have been able to do without his crucial help.
I went to Royal Holloway and it’s motto is ‘Esse Quam Videri’ which means ‘To be rather than to seem’. Rather fitting don’t you think? The desire to pursue higher education was in me. But it seemed that my financial situation would stop me. Dr Dangoor enabled me to be, to be a student fully rather than just to struggle along. And for that I wish to join the rest of the room this evening and say – from a Dangoor Scholar to a Dangoor – thank you.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
It was with trepidation that I read a recent blog by Danny Rogers warning that PR must 'get ready for a Comms Revolution'. According to Harris Diamond of Weber Shandwick there will be, amongst other developments, an influx of senior professionals into the industry from disciplines outside the traditional media sphere.
Diamond seems utterly enthused by the idea that successful business men and women will flood the sector, breaking down the barriers and stereotypes of the profession and generating much heavier investment in training and staff retention. But what about those that aren’t ‘successful’ or part of ‘a desirable profession’? What are the chances of their own career progression? The graduate scheme that a student may be applying for right now may not logically exist post-revolution. There would simply be no need to recruit raw and natural communications talent when you can easily select from a pre-filtered pool of Ivy League consultants and seasoned politicos.
Revolutions can be cleansing, can foster new relationships and evolve the industry into a stronger force to be reckoned with. The danger therefore lies in going too far. To go all the way is to ignore the benefits of successful knowledge transfer to the new batch of recruits. To ensure the next generation of public relations executives learn from the best that the industry has to offer and are not left merely observing the whistle-stop careerists is vital to sector stability and success. All must be trained to an incredibly high standard. A standard worthy of an industry called ‘public relations’.
See the original comment piece by Danny Rogers here: http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/search/945726/Danny-Rogers-PR-ready-comms-revolution/