USW students tackle PR crisis

Final year students on the BA (Hons) Events Management and BA (Hons) Marketing tested their crisis management skills as part of a unique simulation exercise, using technology used by the police in similar situations.

Students responded to an evolving and interactive PR crisis based on the real life example of the Carnival Triumph in 2013. The Carnival Cruise Line’s ship and passengers were left stranded at sea after a fire in the engine room. Students used an array of PR tools such as, press release and social media to take control of the crisis.

The simulation took place in the state of the art Hydra Minerva Suites in the Glyntaff campus, also used by USW’s Police Sciences students and the Police Service to train police officers. The sophisticated technology was used to simulate a PR crisis and acted as platform for students to put theory into practice.

Students learned the importance of crisis team cohesion, message timeliness and consistency, and the use of language during the simulation.

Local PR experts, representing Wales’ largest PR agencies, also attended the event and acted as judges. This allowed students to interact with experts and further their learning experience. BA (Hons) Marketing module leader Mike Parsons commented: “The presence of local PR experts during the simulation highlights our commitment to ensuring that USW students can apply theory into practice, enhancing their employability skills.”

Final year marketing student Mishan Wickremasinghe commented “The simulation was a fantastic way to have a feel of what companies may experience during a PR disaster. I had not only learned skills that are useful for PR crisis management but also other transferable skill. For example, teamwork and time management during a difficult situation.”

Managing Director from Golley Slater, Annabel Lloyd stated that "The crisis simulation is an excellent way of bringing the reality of public relations practice to life for the students. It was a pleasure to be involved and we were impressed by the response of the students."