Ross - Inspiring Experiences

Ross Watson

PR Manager at Alton Towers

BA (Hons) Media and Communication

Ross took every opportunity at BCU to develop his CV, taking on freelance writing work for music magazines and a weekly football column for the Birmingham Mail. His enthusiasm for his subject and passion for experiences has seen him progress quickly to a senior level at the UK’s biggest theme park.

“I became interested in working in media during college but I was confused by the number of different industries that fall under the media and communications umbrella, it seemed so broad. I didn’t know how to decide which one was for me and what to study at university.

When I visited BCU, I noticed that the Media and Communication course covered many disciplines, so I could try my hand at different things to decide what I enjoyed most. Courses at other universities were very specific, whereas BCU offered variety and the chance for me to get stuck into lots of different things.

The best part of the course was its links with industry, particularly with local businesses that I’ve maintained my connections with. I wrote a fortnightly column for the Birmingham Mail, completed a weekend placement at the British Science Festival and did some freelance writing for a variety of music magazines – I even got to go to a music festival in Inverness!

Plus, I had loads of fun on my course trying out different things - I created a record label, a football podcast and a radio show with my closest friends. University gave me time to experiment and discover what I wanted from a career.

The summer after my graduation I was lucky enough to land my first full-time role as a Junior Account Executive with Midlands PR agency, 8848 Agency. After four years, I was promoted to a Senior Account Executive position and then joined the NEC Group.

This gave me the opportunity to manage PR and communications for the UK's largest live events business, working on projects involving NEC Group venues including the NEC, ICC, Vox, Utilita Arena Birmingham, and Resorts World Arena.

The role was super varied – from press relations, social media, photography, stakeholder management, video, PR strategy, crisis comms – you name it, we do it! Luckily, my time at BCU prepared me for a diverse, exciting career in the industry so I’m always prepared to take on anything that comes my way. I’ve since moved to Alton Towers in a similar role. Working for the UK’s biggest theme park is set to be my biggest challenge yet!

To work in this industry, allowing people to access incredible experiences and events fills me with pride. I have been coming to venues such as the NEC and Alton Towers all my life (I still remember seeing Gladiators and Busted as a kid!), so to play a small part in helping to bring epic experiences to life for visitors from across the country is a great thrill.

If I could talk to someone thinking about applying to university or BCU, I would tell them that it’s not as scary as it seems. When you’re applying to university, it can feel like you have to decide on your future career there and then, but you don’t. University is your chance to find yourself and find out what makes you tick.”