RMIT public relations students have been working with Cystic Fibrosis Victoria to help raise awareness about carrier screening.
An estimated 1 in 25 Australians is unaware that they carry the gene that can cause cystic fibrosis.
Carrier screening is widely available and can give individuals an opportunity to make informed life and reproductive choices.
Cystic Fibrosis Victoria (CFV) plan to expand their Victorian Carrier Screening Campaign and approached RMIT to organise a work-integrated learning project with students from the Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations).
The students worked with CFV to create a strategy that will be implemented nationwide called "Get the Kit" which will raise awareness of the availability of carrier screening.
Sarah Burns, Project Coordinator at CFV, said the PR students who worked on the development of a National Cystic Fibrosis Carrier Screening Campaign absolutely exceeded all expectations.
“From receiving the original project brief, the students exuded enthusiasm and dedication to ensuring that their final pitch was nothing short of exceptional,” Burns said.
“Both myself and the team at CFV are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to partake in such a great experience with a high quality turnover of work, from start to finish.
“The new ideas and vision that the students presented for a national campaign have empowered CFV to fight harder and ensure that the Australian population, including the million carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene, are better informed of their reproductive options."
The public relations students built on skills that they have learnt over the duration of their program, including responding to a client brief, working in teams that replicate a consultancy environment, and applying writing skills, strategic thinking, creativity, and theoretical frameworks in a real-time context.
Program lecturer Justin Rogers said having an opportunity to work on a national communication campaign has developed the students’ skills while boosting their confidence.
“This project allowed students to work closely with a client while being mentored by industry professionals on project management, client management and communication strategy,” Rogers said.
“This approach to education helps build skills and knowledge but also confidence in our students to enter the workforce and be able to solve problems and face dynamic work environments with confidence."
Students who worked on the project were Carla Addamo, Ruth Bamford, Mariah Borgonha, Anna Donaldson, Gemma Irving, Jo Jin Lee, Joseph McMahon, Charlotte Minter, Ella Molnar, Camille Music, Nora Omar, Alice Redmond, Danielle Walker and Simone Windsor.
Charlotte Minter said working with a real-life client had been beneficial as she transitions into the communications industry.
“As a group, we feel that this project has been rewarding in different ways, and for me it has sparked an interest in working for not-for-profits and social enterprises in the future,” Minter said.
Public Relations Campaigns is part of a yearlong capstone experience that helps students transition to the workforce.
In first semester, students complete an internship and reflect on key aspects of communication such as law, regulation and ethics in Professional Public Relations.
Together, these two courses aim to ensure students graduate ready for life and work.
Story: Wendy Little