I have often heard that any chance of getting work in the television industry is based quite heavily on who you know, and whilst that might indeed be true, I’ve also come to the realisation that it may also depends on what opportunities you seize and how far out of your comfort zone you might be prepared to push yourself.
Looking back it was quite scary joining a course like BSc Television and Broadcasting, and when I first started my course, I did not know what career path I wanted to go down. Thankfully I remained open minded and through the first two years of study I tried as many different roles as I could. At some point in my second year I became really focused on doing a placement, and students at the University of Portsmouth are very lucky to have their own Creative Careers placement faculty department who help them focus on making a placement year happen.
The decision to apply for a placement has been one of the best decisions I have made alongside choosing to join the Television and Broadcasting course, and at some point I applied for an events management team and got the job!
I joined Awesome Events in 2018, and I became part of a smaller team entitled Awesome AV that comprised of just two people, myself and my manager. The opportunities to learn were amazing, and very soon I was contacting and working with clients, booking AV equipment LED screens, and even drone hire!
The learning experience at Awesome was, er, awesome! I developed my skills of communicating, and talking to clients really helped build my confidence. I also learnt how to set up audio, video and lighting, and bit by bit I discovered passion and skills in areas I had not considered before. I also knew this would all be really useful for when I returned to university to complete my final year.
Then something unexpected happened, and this was partly down to the experience I had just had, and partly due to timing. My placement had begun slightly earlier than normal, meaning that I was due to complete my experience in February, but after meeting with my academic placement supervisor and explaining to him what I had just achieved, he thought it worth my while to apply for a job with Sky that he had just heard about.
That all was six months ago and as I complete my successful appointment with Sky I can hardly believe what a whirlwind 14 months it has been. My experience with Awesome gave me the confidence to look more into technical elements of work, and this gave me the confidence to apply for a broadcast transmission role within Sky, which has really opened my eyes to other unsung elements of the TV industry.
I think my learning and experience is best summed up by my manager at Awesome who stated “Michelle’s fault-finding skills have rapidly improved and her speed to rectify faults has become much faster, she is not only a good production assistant but is what I would describe as a competent Technical Engineer.” Reading this back gives me the confidence to build on my development and skills in the future, and I cannot wait to get back to university and complete my third year to the best of my abilities. So what is my message to employers and students considering a placement? Well, employers please keep on giving placements, they are so important! And students, seize the placement opportunities and dare to move out of your comfort zone - for me, it is something that has changed my whole career outlook and my life :)