Trainee Imaging Producer at Bauer Media
BA (Hons) Media and Communication graduate, Tom Hall, spoke to us about what he has been doing since graduating and how his university experience helped him get there.
Can you confirm what course you graduated from?
Hi, I'm Tom Hall and I graduated from Birmingham City University with a First Class degree in Media and Communication.
Why did you choose this course and why Birmingham City University?
I chose the Media and Communication degree as I was looking for a broad course which taught me multiple media related skills instead of specialising in one specific area. I feel as though this has given me such a variety of experience and skills that makes me appealing to media companies. In a sense, I have more strings to my media bow.
One big reason I chose to study here was the vibe of the university. When you go to an Open Day you really get a feel for the place and BCU just felt right, everyone was super helpful, knowledgeable and approachable which has enabled me to grow and blossom into the best media professional I could be. To me, BCU is a central hub connected to everything essential to a media student. A thriving city, good media companies, and a growing media industry! What more do you need?
What was it about the course that made it stand out to you?
When I came to an Open Day I saw the amazing facilities BCU had here, so good that even media professionals were using them. If the facilities were good enough for big companies such as the BBC or Channel 4, then they were perfect for me as my aim was always to work in one of those big media companies. As well as the facilities, a big factor that stood out for me was that the lecturers all came from an industry background, meaning they have been where I wanted to be. This was reassuring that they would make sure what we were taught on the course was appropriate and up to date with industry practice.
Now you’ve graduated, how would you describe the course?
To me, the Media and Communication course at BCU is simply a bulging pocket of opportunities. The course and the University has so much to offer students who want to work in the media industry.
What job are you doing now?
I am currently a Trainee Imaging Producer for Bauer Media, creating a variety of imaging items for both national and local radio stations within the Bauer City Network.
What does your job entail?
I create a range of imaging for a variety of stations across the country. The productions can range from promos, sponsors, spotlights, partnerships and more. We work across 52 stations so my workload varies depending on a number of things, for example if any of the stations are running any big events, or campaigns, or even the time of year. My job also includes working with multiple teams throughout the process of a production to ensure everything is correct and accurate, making sure all parties are happy with the final product and everything is ready to be broadcast.
Would you say that your degree helped you to prepare for the job and if so how?
My degree has vastly helped me, not only with learning practical skills such as radio production, audio editing and the fundamental structure of the radio industry, but also the essential skills you never really think about. We were taught how to communicate in a professional environment and work within a big team of creatives to achieve a mutual goal, those are the things you don’t think about but are vital in the real-world media industry. It’s such a big step going from university into the working world, I have never worked with people from all over the country like I am now but I feel prepared for this from things we learnt at BCU. In third year we did a Radio Station module, which allowed us to develop skills which are now crucial to my role. It also provided the fundamentals for me to develop contacts which came in handy when I was trying to get into the industry.
What work experience did you complete as part of your course?
I did so much work experience while I was at university which literally transformed my CV from a snail to a horse in three years. What I mean by that is these experiences became imperative in my own personal growth in the media industry and allowed me to trot confidently throughout projects instead of sliding everywhere and hoping for the best.
A few major placement experiences I had were working for some big media companies, including Bauer Media, Global Radio, BBC and the Community Media Association. These experiences allowed me to take what I had learnt in the classroom and apply them to real live briefs and enabled me to meet and work with some amazingly talented people. Ultimately this provided me with the opportunity to push myself even further to achieve things that I am still immensely proud of, such as getting my work broadcast on the BBC Asian Network, before even graduating!
What advice do you have for the next round of graduates looking for a job?
There is always more than one way into the industry than using the front door. Everyone always thinks the only way into the media industry is through the traditional routes when in actual fact we are now more connected than ever through social media and other channels, so use all the tools to your advantage. I once used Twitter to gain a week’s work experience as a Broadcast Journalist at Global Radio which taught me a lot about script writing and location reporting, and it even allowed me to meet the Queen… yes Big Liz herself!
The next piece of advice I would give is to make sure you stay connected to the people you meet through your work experiences and throughout university. You never know when an opportunity might come up. There is no excuse not to immerse yourself with the media on all social channels, especially if this is the industry you want to get into.
The final piece of advice I would give is to remember to smile. You may feel stressed to the max at times with deadlines and projects but enjoy your time at university as it goes by so fast and you will really miss it when it’s gone.
What advice do you have for an applicant choosing their university course?
My advice to any applicant would be to make an informed decision, granted there is so much information available online but you will never know if a place is for you if you don't visit it and get a feel for it yourself. Book onto an Open Day and explore the University and the city. I know I am slightly biased but if you want to get into the media industry there is honestly no better place than BCU in my opinion. In many media companies, you'll meet someone who has studied at BCU, I work with a few throughout my team. However, you need to do what’s right for you, trust me you'll know what to do when you've visited!