Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Long Haul 

Yesterday I attended my niece's graduation from medical school.  She spent four years gaining a basic knowledge of medicine to get an MD after her name.  She will spend four more years in residency learning how to become a doctor.  She will spend years after that learning to become a surgeon.  Sometime in her mid-30s, she will be ready to join a practice and begin her career work. 

It is tempting to consider whether training in communications should be as long.  The communications practitioner would be competent in all basic disciplines of the field -- speech, audio, video, text, data and online.  Client solutions would be better integrated because the practitioner would know how to implement them.  Creativity would be enhanced because the practitioner would have more tools to draw upon.  But, this is dreaming.  Ours is a field of on-the-job training more than formal discipline.  As such, it is hit and miss.  One gains good experience in some disciplines and little or none in others.  Still, it should be possible for better OJT than what exists now.  That, however, would require the larger PR agencies to implement a formal training program with rotations among disciplines. 

I find all this very interesting. I personally believe that people should have on-the-job training. It is important to understand how to properly work in the field you are going into. Even if you have experience in the expertise, or have the highest degree going into the department, it is still necessary to understand how the organization you are entering works. Even though it would be more work for the public relation agencies, it would help them in the long run. Unless the PR agencies simply do not have the money, I believe that on-site training should be a must.

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