Image courtesy of flickr user Images Money

Hitting new career heights – #CareerWins with HMRC’s Michelle Coulthard

HMRC hit the headlines again this week after the offices of Newcastle United and West Ham United football clubs were raided, following investigations into the clubs’ transfer dealings.

Increasing demand for business transparency means tax is never far from the news agenda, and that can only be positive according to HMRC Communications Business Partner, Michelle Coulthard Chart.PR, MCIPR, Dip.CIPR.

“Given the choice, we’d choose to have tax in the limelight and have the opportunity to have those conversations.”

Michelle works in HM Revenue and Customs’ Customer Services department.

“It’s really fast paced and the area I look after has around 15,000 staff as well as being heavily in the public and media eye so there are lots of challenges that come with that.”

Leading a team of senior managers, Michelle’s responsibilities include sharing knowledge with staff and directing strategy. The desire to learn about strategic communications is what inspired Michelle to pursue the CIPR Diploma.

“It was pitched at a strategic level and that’s exactly what I wanted” says Michelle who graduated in 2015.

“The course taught me a lot about looking past the day to day grid in PR and how to assess an issue or a crisis with a forward-thinking head.”

The flexibility of the course also proved a pivotal factor for Michelle.

”If I’m being honest, it had been a long time since I last had my head in text books so being able to learn in the way that the course offered me was totally the right thing for me.”

Diploma students can study face-to-face at teaching centres around the world or via online learning. The CIPR also offers blended learning which combines face-to-face and online options.

“I could learn when it suited me by watching the webinar back if I missed one and the content was really relevant to my work so I was able to practice my learning in real life as I went along.”

Commitment to part-time study can present challenges but Michelle believes the change in routine had a positive effect.

“Juggling my life around assignment time was tough but I strangely enjoyed it. Lying around the pool reading Stephen Waddington’s book did look a bit odd but you have to commit to the learning outside the course. It brought back some academic discipline that I probably needed. It’s actually continued to make me more focused on a task even now.”

The late night studying and hours of sacrifice paid off for Michelle as she’s left in no doubt about the impact it had on her career.

“The course had a positive impact on my work from day one. I was able to bring my learning and new ideas with me to work every day. And in terms of progression I think it was a huge factor in giving me the confidence to go for and get that move up.”

Shortly after graduating, Michelle signed up for a Chartership Assessment and became the CIPR’s 100th Chartered Practitioner (Chart.PR) in June last year.

“I can’t tell you the sense of pride and achievement from getting your hands on your certificate at the end of the day – it was amazing, for all of us who managed to get through the process.”

Find out more about what the Professional PR Diploma could do for your career.

Image courtesy of flickr user Images Money

Posted in CIPR, CPD, Public Relations

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