Education the practical key

Working in local government provides such a huge range of challenges for the communication professional that it has proved the ideal training ground for a lecturer in a newly established degree in communication.

Dr Kevin Brianton, now a lecturer in strategic communication and public relations at La Trobe University, has worked for many local governments in Victoria, along with the Victorian Local Governance Association and the Municipal Association of Victoria over the last 20 years.

Dr Brianton said local government remained one of the most demanding areas of communication work.

“In almost every lecture at La Trobe on whatever topic, I find myself talking about some aspect of work in local government because it touches on so many areas.”

Local government often throws up unexpected challenges and rewards. In developing a consultation model for Moreland City Council, Dr Brianton found the lessons he had gained opened up avenues for training government officials from Thailand.

In time, he became a lecturer and was recently a visiting professor at Srinakharinwirot University in Thailand, where again lessons of local government proved invaluable.

Dr Brianton said while it is a good training ground, it is no longer enough.

“My advice now if that if you are looking for advancement or to refine your skills, you must consider a tertiary degree.

“In previous years, a local government might be able to employ an ex-journalist to crank out a few positive press releases and that would be that.

“In today’s environment, this approach is simply no longer enough.

“Communication involves a variety of options such as the internet and social media.

“People working in communication must know and understand issues and crisis management, community relations, event management and a host of other areas.

“You must be able to research, to consult, to use social media, to negotiate and to deliver results.

Details on the Bachelor and Master of Strategic Communication are available from the La Trobe university website at
Dr Brianton can be contacted on (03) 9479 2513.