How many people can say that they've already began their dream career fresh out of A-Levels? I can, and it's all down to the BBC Business Management Higher Apprenticeship Scheme.
I still have to pinch myself that at just 20 years old, I've been working here for a year whilst studying for a degree, with the BBC paying my tuition fees. It's a truly unique opportunity within the creative industries, and I feel so lucky to be in a position to learn through hands on experience and from some of the most inspiring people in television.
I never thought I'd have a job that I'm excited to get up on a Monday morning for, but with such a breadth of opportunity on offer for BBC Apprentices, there's never a dull day in the office. I've had some of the most exciting experiences in my first year, working on shoots, watching edits and taking part in amazing live events such as Children in Need.
My experience started with Daytime TV, and a team that were so onboard and excited to have me, that they welcomed me with open arms and I got stuck in straight away. I sat within the central planning team, looking at the forward planning of up and coming shows. We rotate every 8 months on the scheme, which is the perfect amount of time to really learn the tools of the trade in the specific department. It's in this placement that I met my all-time broadcasting hero, David Attenborough and learnt exactly how a television programme is brought to life, from the initial idea, to commission, to production.
I've now moved onto a new challenge, BBC Three, a channel that's just launched online. It's such an exciting time for us as we can take risks and push boundaries, and being one of the youngest in the office, I feel that I can have a real input into how things are shaped there and I'm loving it so far.
With all this excitement Monday to Thursday, Friday comes and it's time to head to university and study for my degree. It adds a completely different layer to the scheme and I love being able to still be a student and study whilst working full time. Higher education has always been really important to me, and so being able to leave the scheme with a BA in Business Management, absolutely debt free is a fantastic feeling.
It hasn't always been plain sailing and during my college days' apprenticeship were never really on my radar. At 17 when choosing my options, it felt daunting and so it seemed like heading off to university with my friends was the best option. I worked hard to get my grades, and moved to Newcastle University where I began studying Media Communications. However after a few months, with fresher's excitement dying down I slowly realised the practical experience in television I'd always wanted wasn't there for me.
I wanted to get stuck into working life, and so I moved back home in the hope of finding an opportunity to get my foot in the door. It was a scary step for me, but following what I really wanted has paid off massively. Going against the grain, with not one of my friends doing an apprenticeship, it took guts and determination to enter the world of work and do it differently from my peers. If I were to give one piece of advice for anyone in this position, it would be to go for it, do it differently and put yourself out there.
The BBC and other companies aren't looking for the finished product and are invested in developing young talent. It's not about how much prior experience you have, it's about your willingness to learn and real passion for their content. At times it can be a lot of work, but I've not once felt as though I've been missing out and made the wrong decision. I still have a really great social life with the other BBC apprentices, and we're all doing this together.
My first year at the BBC and living in London has been the best so far, and I can't wait to see what my next year on the scheme holds.