C4 Stories What really goes on behind the scenes? - Heather McCorristonPosted: 28th of April 2016 by Martha
Hi I'm Heather, Channel 4's Nations and Regions Apprentice.
I've wanted to work in television ever since I was little. I never knew quite what I wanted to do in television, be it writing, presenting or maybe even producing but I always knew that it was the industry for me. But what sort of a degree do you need to work in television? This is a question that I found myself asking anyone and everyone, but no one could give me a definitive answer, so, I took an absolute stab in the dark and went for economics and history with a bit of politics thrown in for good measure. These are all subjects that I genuinely find interesting and I was good at history at school, they'd make a great degree, right? Wrong.
Yes, I was interested in these subjects but I wasn't passionate about them and I didn't really enjoy spending all my time studying them. I was also finding it hard to see how these subjects related to what I wanted to do after university so I started looking around for other opportunities and found that there was a whole world of apprenticeships and trainee
schemes that I knew nothing about but that appealed to me much more than university ever did. I began applying for various roles and dedicated a lot more of my time to building up my work experience.
After applying in March, I found out in May that I had been offered Channel 4's Nations and Regions Apprenticeship and I honestly could not believe it. I can't think of a better 'foot in the door' as it were, than working for one of Britain's biggest broadcasters and the job description assured me that it was something that would suit me down to a tee!
Our department helps connect Indies (independent production companies) in the Nations and Regions – essentially everywhere outside of London – to the Commissioning Editors in London in an effort to increase the number of National and Regional commissions. This means that I get to speak to a lot of people - something I always got into trouble for in school - and travel a fair bit – something that I love doing!
My jobs include helping to organise the briefing events that we put on once a month, as well as other company events, shadowing Susie and Ian, in my team, in their meetings with Indies which are always really interesting, updating the department database - which means trying to speak to every single Indie in the UK, outside of London – and even sharing my thoughts on ideas and commissions.
Despite being based outside of London, I also get to help London's Creative Diversity Team, who ensures that diversity targets are met in Channel 4 productions and the 4Talent team who help young people get into the industry.
There has been a lot of scope for me to find my own opportunities in this role which I really appreciate. News and Current Affairs is my main area of interest and so my manager, has helped me set up a four week placement with a News and Current Affairs Indie, Firecrest Films, to work on their latest commission during pre-production and production which I am really excited about.
As cliché as it sounds: I'm three months into my apprenticeship and no two days have been the exact same. I've been given far more responsibility than I could ever have imagined and I have already had so many opportunities to meet and learn from some amazing people. I could talk about my job and all I have done for days on end (and I do, to the dismay of my friends and family) but I'll end this blog post here by saying that applying for this apprenticeship was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made (cheesy, I know)!
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