I’m almost at the end of my second year, and one aspect I love about my course is the opportunities it provides for work outside of uni. We have a course specific Facebook group set up, where the lecturers post work opportunities for us to look at and contact details for us to apply. During my time at university I wanted to gain work experience since having practical experiences is extremely important within the media industry. I also wanted to build connections with people already in the industry before I graduated. So, I applied for every opportunity I could. I’ve worked for Leeds Fest 2019, BBC Introducing and even had the experience of working on a tv show for Channel 5, through True North Productions.
The BBC had decided they wanted someone to film their Introducing stage at Leeds Fest and so had contacted some lecturers at Leeds Beckett to see if they knew of any students who could help. My lecturers posted this on the course Facebook group, and I applied. The following week I headed up to a field in the middle of nowhere to film. I didn’t know anybody, but I soon became friends with the people I was working with. I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences. We worked for half of the day filming different acts, then afterwards, we could do whatever we wanted and could enjoy the festival. Our passes allowed us almost everywhere, into the VIP areas and backstage. We got staff catering and it was all free! Over the weekend, I was able to use new filming equipment and get myself ahead of the game for second year, which is when we were supposed to learn about this equipment. During the placement, I was also able to improve my editing skills which was useful for future modules on my course. I met loads of people who worked at the BBC and I have them on social media now so I can contact them and make sure they remember my name for the future when I graduate. We all left the weekend on good terms, with BBC Introducing very happy with the final video and I now have new connections and stronger videography skills.
BBC IntroducingFollowing the success of Leeds Fest, BBC Introducing contacted the same lecturers at the start of the new academic year and expressed their interest in a Leeds Beckett based music show. This time, there were specific roles we could apply for. I applied for the role of the Floor Manager and I got it. This meant that I was in charge of looking after guests and making sure everything was running smoothly in the studio. We held meetings to discuss shot ideas and the schedule for shooting. I found this experience really rewarding because I had the opportunity to meet other people in the years above and below me who I otherwise may not have met. We had lecturers to oversee everything and make sure there were no huge problems, but beyond that, it was a student-run project with about 20 of us working on it. This was a valuable opportunity because it helped me gain confidence in my skills and also helped with team building skills, working with new people. One thing I love about media is you won’t find anyone working in the field who isn’t passionate about what they do. This combined with hardworking students meant the show we produced turned out pretty good, thanks to everyone working well together.
True North Productions
This placement was special as it gave me experience on a real TV show, Shop Smart, Save Money, which was broadcast on Channel 5. It was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it at the end of the week to see my name in the credits. During this placement, I would get up at 5:30am every day and travel to the site in Bradford for a 7am start. I worked until we packed everything up at around 6/7pm in the evening. My role on the show was the Location Assistant, which meant I kept the hosts happy and fed, got the coffee for the staff and had to be on hand to help various departments if they needed an extra pair of hands. This was a great experience as I met a lot of different people in the industry and found out a bit more about what they do, which helped me get some insight into where I want to go with my career. I was able to use a bit of my camera knowledge on-site a few times and discussed tips and tricks with the cameramen. Overall, this placement gave me lots of links to the industry and it was really useful to see how a TV set ran in real life. It also is great for my CV, as my name is credited on a Channel 5 show.
I chose to take part in work placements whilst at university because I wanted more experience and to gain confidence in my own skills. It’s great to learn skills at uni but it’s even better to apply what you’ve learnt to real-life situations. Thanks to these opportunities, I was able to get interviews for placements at Disney and Discovery for my sandwich year. I would recommend that you take any work experience that comes your way. It can be hard work, and often you’re not paid but it’s worth it for the connections, skills learnt and the memories you’ll make.