Lydia Hubbard: My apprenticeship at the BBC

As a BBC Broadcast Engineering Apprentice, Lydia has worked in a number of different engineering teams in the BBC and has assisted with events such as ‘Children in Need’ and ‘BBC Young Reporter’, while studying for her degree in Broadcast and Communications Engineering. We caught up with Lydia to find out what she enjoys about her apprenticeship.

Lydia Hubbard, Apprenticeship at the BBC

Why did you choose to study your course?

One of the main reasons I chose to study this course was due to the content it explored and the variety it offered. By looking at the University modules, there was such a broad scope and a number of areas which I found interesting and exciting. For me personally, the computer programming and networking modules jumped out as they are skills I really wanted to learn and improve upon. Another reason I chose the course was due to the structure of block rotations between University study and industry placements, allowing me to put my newly learnt skills into action and get hands on experience in an actual workplace.

What does your apprenticeship role entail?

My role as an apprentice changes vastly from day to day and this is one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much! Over my time, I have worked with a number of different Engineering teams in the BBC as well as with external industry partners such as ITV. From shadowing senior engineers, carrying out software configurations, setting up Outside Broadcasts (OB’s) or volunteering assistance at BBC events such as ‘Children in Need’ or ‘BBC Young Reporter’, the role has so much to offer!

What might a typical day with your employer look like?

A typical day for me involves working closely with the Engineering team of the Broadcast Support Centre in Birmingham. Here, we monitor and support all 39 local radio studios and 16 TV studios across English Regions. By responding to issues and queries from UK-wide operational staff and monitoring/ upgrading broadcast kit, we ensure the highest level of service is provided and avoid any disturbances to BBC output.

What are the advantages of choosing an apprenticeship pathway?

A key advantage of choosing an apprenticeship is that you get to spend a lot of time experiencing a real workplace and being a part of a team. I really enjoy placements as by rotating around different departments in the BBC you get a really clear picture of all that is involved in the broadcast chain and how key concepts studied at university are physically put into action.

There’s a lot of flexibility too when it comes to apprenticeships which encourages you to be independent and find your own niche interests that you find enjoyable. The greatest advantage for me however is the massive boost the apprenticeship gave to my confidence. The thought of being thrown into a busy workplace at first was extremely daunting especially due to my lack of prior experience. However, as I progressed through my apprenticeship course, my self-confidence has skyrocketed and I now feel a valuable member of the team and able to voice my own opinions and ideas in front of senior and specialist engineers. 

What do you enjoy most about your apprenticeship?

The one thing I enjoy most about my apprenticeship is the many people I have met over the course and listening to the stories, knowledge and experiences they have had in their careers.

What advice would you give to a students who are unsure whether an apprenticeship pathway is right for them?

I would 100% recommend an apprenticeship to anyone thinking of applying! I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship with the BBC and BCU and have grown so much as a person in terms of my confidence, independence and skillset over the three years. I have been able to study in my area of interest, obtain a degree and enjoy the social aspects of university whilst also being part of an Engineering team and preparing myself for the world of work after graduation.

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