Marika MacCarvill is the PR & Industry Relationship Manager at Digital Skills Academy. She first started working for Digital Skills Academy two years ago in a consultantcy role, but the role has grown and grown.
Company: Digital Skills Academy offers innovative digital industry-linked Continuous Professional Development and Higher Education & Training Programmes. We see ourselves as talent developers; developing talent for employment in the digital technology sector. Our digital technology, business and design programmes are designed to support participants to take advantage of the career opportunities in the Irish digital technology and media sector, where there are skills gaps and strong job prospects.
Job description: My main focus is on the PR programme and building relationships with industry, including; launching new digital technology programmes, showcasing the digital innovations being developed through our programmes for industry and promoting the successful employment outcomes of our graduates. Beyond this, my role also includes everything from Government relations, event planning, content creation for our online channels, and business development.
Likes: It’s a really exciting and fast-paced role, which I hugely enjoy. No two days are the same.
Career ladder: In 2001 I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a 2.1 (hons) degree in Economics and Spanish. Unsure what career direction to take after graduation, a journalist friend suggested that I consider PR and I haven’t looked back since. I did the Public Relations Institute of Ireland Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations, which is absolutely essential to get a foot into the industry, unless you are coming from journalism. I got my first break working for Elevate PR, which I am always grateful for and then went on to work for McConnells PR, working on some big consumer brands. Keen to broaden my experience and move into the area of corporate communications and issues management, I landed a role with Gibney Communications where I looked after a mix of corporate and consumer clients. I worked hard there and got the training of a lifetime, which will stand to me for the rest of my days. The best career advice I ever received and which I live by everyday, is simply; do a brilliant job for clients and everything else will look after itself. It’s a simple ethos, but it holds true.
Qualifications: BA Economics & Spanish, Trinity College Dublin
Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations, Fitzwilliam Institute/ Public Relations Institute of Ireland
Working hours: Whatever it takes. I’m not a 9 to 5 person.
Breaktime: In my role, it is essential that I am plugged into what is happening in industry and at the Academy, so any downtime is spent chatting to participants, graduates, industry partners and the lecturing team. Unearthing great success stories is the lifeblood of my role. It’s great to hear so many people doing well and going on to great success and seeing some really innovative digital products developed through our programmes. Having a fresh stream of stories to bring to media or to promote through our own online channels is key for me and in an organisation that is growing so rapidly, you can never underestimate the value of face-to-face contact with colleagues.
Social media credentials: I love social media; it has completely revitalised the world of PR. While the media is absolutely critical to what we do and will remain so, we are no longer entirely reliant on the media to get stories out; social media gives us another very powerful outlet. But both work hand-in-hand.
From the moment I wake up I am constantly plugged in to keep up to date with what’s happening. I manage Digital Skills Academy’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. To promote our programmes, I also love using Facebook Ads, they are tactile and fun and the response you can get is phenomenal.
News sources: You have to love news to do my job well. I listen to Morning Ireland and read the broadsheets every morning and then check out online news sites throughout the day, everything from irishtimes.com, rte.ie, siliconrepublic.com, digitaltimes.ie, breakingnews.ie to thejournal.ie.
Onsite or offsite: I work a mix of onsite and offsite.
Digital strategy/vision: We are currently overhauling Digital Skills Academy’s website. The organisation has moved so fast, that our current site just doesn’t reflect where we are at. I am relishing the challenge of delivering an exceptional website that will enable us to broadcast all that is happening at Digital Skills Academy.
I love Mondays because: I have such an exciting role with Digital Skills Academy. It’s so varied and with a constant stream of great stories and successes to showcase, it’s the best position to be in. If I imagined my dream job this would be it.