1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a BBC Scotland Production Apprentice - one of ten taken on in September 2018 for 12 months. The apprenticeship involves visiting five different departments in the BBC Scotland HQ over the year for 9 weeks each.
So far I have worked in the Newsroom where I would arrange guest interviewers for News pieces, research them and personally phone them beforehand, and occasionally interview them myself - usually outside of our HQ. I'd also scan the papers and internet for stories, take calls from people pitching stories, research stories and issues, write briefs and copy and arrange access for film crews in locations.
At the moment I'm in the Digital department - responsible for BBC Bitesize in Scotland and social media content such as 'The Social'. They also run a project where they go out to schools with production equipment to make content with children. I have worked with this team and the Bitesize team.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have so far worked with cameras, audio recorders, green screens, audio and visual editing software and numerous online production programs which I had no experiences of before. As the apprenticeship progresses I hope to have more experiences of using more equipment and become more fluent in their use.
The BBC run a few internal training courses which have caught my eye - one of which is workplace first aiding. As a volunteer first aider in my own time, I'd like to do this along with their mental health first aiding course in order to improve the skills I use at football matches at weekends.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Having come directly from school, this apprenticeship is a totally different and much more enjoyable experience. The work is challenging but rewarding and very interesting - I was not expecting the variety of tasks they'd have me doing. The staff are supportive and trust me to complete tasks for them, as well as give useful advice.
I look forward to each day there - even days where I don't get sent to do something outside of the building are interesting. Although time spent away from the desk (such as running at a Radio Scotland Ceilidh at the Barrowland Ballroom, visiting the Scottish Parliament, helping out at schools) is perhaps the best thing about it.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Before this year of the apprenticeship, apprentices were sent to all 9 departments for 5 weeks at a time. That we're being sent to 5 departments which are specifically chosen for us for 9 weeks seems a much better idea - and last year's apprentices agree. I think this shows that effort has been put into the structure of the course, and that they've listened to feedback from past years.
Two weeks of induction and training happened at the start of the the course and we meet for college two days at the end of the last week of each month. That the college element is spread out minimises the chance of missing things at work.
All things considered, I'd say the course is very well organised.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Our Manager, Pamela Wilson, is very helpful and approachable and has taken the time to organise buddies - apprentices from previous years of this course who are still at the BBC, mentors - senior staff members who keep an eye on us and meet with us each month, and placement managers - people based in each team that we will be working with - to look after us and give us advice over the 12 months.
All of them have been great and I've met with them quite regularly so far. Advice is available from all across the organisation however, and there is always someone to speak to if you're stuck with a particular task.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The support we receive from our training provider, Sean Kerwin and Glasgow Kelvin College, is plentiful and readily available. A lot of work is put into the course by Sean and he always has useful feedback and assessment to share with us in terms of college work.
He never just gives us the answer to something we might be stuck with, instead he gives us some advice or tells us to look at it a different way, and lets us get on with it like adults. I find I learn a lot more from this approach.
He is also great at encouraging us - for example; we were tasked with finding and interviewing a freelancer in the building to record an interview with. He broke down everything we should be thinking of and planning, and gave us advice before, during and after the task.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The work that we do in college is consistently relevant to the work that we do in the office and prepares us in advance for work tasks that might be coming later.
Lately we were tasked with delivering presentations - pitching ideas for a film we're going to make - to the rest of the apprentices, which is preparation for real-world pitching tasks at the BBC.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
The apprentices this year have had many networking events - both with staff in the building and apprentices and trainees from separate schemes who, otherwise, we might not have met. These have all been great, as have the guest speakers I've seen - multiple BAFTA-winning producer, director and writer Sally Wainwright a personal highlight.
This year's apprentices have all bonded quite closely and we regularly meet to have lunch together at work.
9a. Would you recommend BBC to a friend?
It is a fantastic workplace with a fantastic work ethic and an environment and staff which bring out the best in you. The work is highly varied and interesting, and very rewarding.
I've had experiences in my first few months that I couldn't have imagined and I look forward to arriving there each morning.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BBC?
The most important piece of advice, as agreed by this year's apprentices, is to be yourself. They explicitly say in the application form that people who are honest are much more interesting than those who pretend to be something they're not.
If you keep a cool head, be yourself, tell a few memorable anecdotes and talk about your experiences and opportunities you've taken, the interview and group assessment won't be intimidating at all.
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