An account handler at Peterborough-based marketing communications consultancy Smye Holland Associates ( has passed the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Advanced Certificate with a ‘merit’ grade.

Hannah Thomas began studying for the qualification in October 2010 and completed the course over one year. She travelled to Birmingham City University one Friday each month to complete the qualification and had to produce three pieces of assessed coursework during this time.

Hannah is responsible for managing marketing communications for clients in the housebuilding and waste management sectors. She chose to study for the one-year advanced certificate to develop her PR skills and achieve an accreditation from the UK‘s industry body for public relations professionals.

Hannah is now officially a full member of the CIPR as her new qualification means that her membership is automatically upgraded.

The CIPR Advanced Certificate provides practitioners with knowledge and understanding of public relations theory and practice to help them develop their skills and expertise and become effective communications professionals.

Hannah commented: “The advanced certificate was hard work and it was challenging at times to juggle everyday work and the coursework that the course demanded. I am really pleased with the outcome, especially achieving a merit grade. I learnt a lot whilst completing the qualification that I can now implement in my role as an account handler at Smye Holland Associates.”

Mike Holland, managing director at Smye Holland Associates, added: “It is important both for the company and for members of the team that they receive the training necessary to continually produce high standards of work and client service. Staff qualifications such as this demonstrate our commitment to clients to ensure that we work to the highest professional standards.”

Hannah has now earned the Member grade within the CIPR, upgrading her to MCIPR membership rather than her previous Associate (ACIPR) grade.