Carmel Harrison, Public Relations Consultant

Carmel is a Public Relations Consultant and former journalist. She recently joined Primary Futures at Ossett South Parade Primary School as part of our Inspiring Wakefield campaign. In this short blog, she shares her experience.

“Going back to school with Primary Futures transported me back in time to the dining room of my childhood where I sat with my Petite Typewriter writing ‘news’ for my imaginary school magazine. My parents’ Christmas gift fired my imagination and made me believe that I could be the journalist of my dreams. Taking part in Primary Futures I hope I fired some young imaginations in the same way.

I am passionate about education having been born into the inner city. My father brought us up after the death of my mother and nurtured my ambition to be a journalist. He taught me that education and hard work would give me a step up the social ladder.

Primary Futures aims to encourage children to aim for the stars by matching them with business people who can illustrate the link between learning and career success. It started in Barnsley in one of the most deprived areas of the UK and has so far helped countless children improve their life chances.

Ossett South Parade invited local businesses to go and talk to the children about our careers and what skills and attributes we needed to succeed. They told us about their ambitions. There were lots of would be actors, teachers and mechanics. Not many journalists or brain scientists!

My job is what I make it. No two days are the same and I get to meet the most amazing people. Because of what I do people tell me their life stories.

After school where I got three A Levels I went to FE college for a one year course then took up what is recognised today as an apprenticeship. I wish I had gone to university but I wanted to earn.

It’s difficult for children to understand the link between maths and grammar in the classroom. They are life skills that help you grow as a person, achieve your ambitions and open the doors of opportunity.

I was lucky having parents who encouraged me and helped me understand the value of our free education system; it meant that I become first a journalist and then a PR practitioner. On the way I have experienced things many of my primary school contemporaries never have or will. Hopefully, with the right encouragement and self-motivation the children from South Parade will do the same. Everyone can take part in Primary Futures simply by signing up to volunteer.

The advice I would pass on to children is to work hard and grab every opportunity. I regret not going to university, and also having been offered a holiday job at a school for deaf children and not taking that just because it was a long way from home and I am a home bird.”

Thanks Carmel for sharing your inspirational story.