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Occupation description

Public relations (PR) officers plan, develop, implement and evaluate information and communication strategies that create an understanding and a favourable view of rail organisations, their goods and services, and their role in the community.

The role is broad and may include planning and organising publicity campaigns and communication strategies, and news and press releases. They are also involved in public opinion research, special events, seminars, entertainment, competitions and social functions to promote goodwill and favourable publicity. They commission and obtain photographs, and select, appraise and revise material submitted by publicity writers and others.

Public relations officers advise rail executives on the public relations implications of their policies, programs and practices and represent the organisation or arrange executive interviews with publicity media; and attend business, social and other functions to promote the organisation. You may deal with government agencies and ministerial staff.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A public relations officer requires excellent oral and written communication skills and interpersonal skills. They are highly skilled and versatile, with a good knowledge of fields like professional writing and editing, strategic planning, and creative thinking processes. They also need initiative and the ability to prioritise and plan effectively.

Working conditions

PR officers work standard office hours Monday to Friday and are usually based at head office. You may travel to other locations including regional depots and train stations depending on the size of your organisation. If you work for an organisation that has freight, you may find yourself in remote mining areas. PR officers usually operate under pressure to meet deadlines. The role involves dealing with many people and can involve long hours and a busy lifestyle.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

A public relations-related bachelor degree such as business, communications or media studies is normally expected by rail employers. Some PR officers may work up through various routes in administration, communications or advertising to establish a career in public relations, however this is infrequent.

Some rail organisations may offer a graduate program for public relations roles.  Generally, PR professionals are members of a professional association such as the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) or the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ).

The value of a career in the rail industry

For even more details on what you might earn, the diversity of companies you could work for and the career opportunities available, visit the following careers and training websites. Careers in Rail by the Australasian Railway Association; About the Rail Industry by Rail Skills Australasia and Rail Training by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC).

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Career paths

Your career may take many turns depending on what stage you are at in life and your personal circumstances. Typically, a public relations officer will progress from an entry level position such as a graduate through to a more senior role such as a coordinator or manager.

The information provided here is generic.  Job titles and the experience and qualifications needed to move into other jobs may vary slightly from state to state depending on the structure and needs of your organisation, and government rules and regulations.

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Career Path Flowchart

Typical career path for a public relations officer