Here's another official interview as part of my 'Career Chat' series. This week I am pleased to be interviewing Colin Campbell-Austin, Channel 4's People Development Manager. Here's some great pieces of advice for how you can kick-start your dream career in television.
EG: Hi Colin. Tell us a bit about Channel 4?
CCA: Channel 4 is a unique organisation: a public service broadcaster with a distinctive creative remit, funded within the marketplace, existing to provide a range of distinctive, challenging and thought provoking content. Our network of channels is available on all digital platforms. Our portfolio includes Channel 4 and E4 (which are also available in HD) More4, Film4, 4Music and soon 4Seven. Channel 4 has used interactive platforms to help extend the depth and impact of its programming output for more than a decade which includes channel4.com, E4.com, 4oD (our bespoke video-on-demand service for current and archive content) and a large social media presence. As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 is required to commission UK content from the independent production sector. We are a major investor in the UK's creative economy, working with around 300 creative companies from across the UK every year and investing significantly in training and talent development throughout the industry.
EG: What is your role at Channel 4?
CCA: I'm the People Development Manager and I am responsible for ensuring that we make the most of the fantastic people that we have at the Channel in terms of their personal development. The team also manages a number of Channel 4 schemes including the Production Trainee Scheme which is aimed at people interested in developing their media career and networking opportunities for potential future employees.
EG: Channel 4 has a reputation for championing diversity. How does this extend to its recruitment?
CCA: We pride ourselves on the wide range of passionate and talented people that we employ. It's well known that a diverse workforce promotes creativity, which for us is the life blood of what we do. We strongly believe that our creative thinking both on and off screen is significantly better by embracing diversity in its widest sense. By attracting people from all backgrounds and walks of life, we have created an environment in which everyone feels free to be who they are at work. Diversity of thought and opinion helps us to innovate, be distinctive and encourage people to think in different ways.
EG: Can you give us an idea of the range of vacancies within an organisation such as Channel 4?
CCA: Within the creative arena, roles range from Commissioning Editors to the Head Film Development. However, Channel 4 is a business, so just like any other company we have departments including Human Resources, Sales, IT and Finance. If you want to be an accountant or sales exec, we have a place for you here at Channel 4.
EG: You mentioned that the organisation runs schemes for people interested in developing their media career. Can you tell us a little about these schemes?
Production Trainee Scheme - Want a career in the media, but not sure how to get your foot in the door? This scheme, which celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year, is open anyone of any age from any background who is passionate about television. This year trainees will be placed in production companies in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast. The roles are fully paid; receive full time mentoring, and training at Channel 4.
Internships - You'll spend the best 12 months of your life working in one specific area of Channel 4. A mix of office and production-based internships are up for grabs. Whatever your media ambitions might be, there is a security pass with your name on it. Plus you get paid!
Apprenticeships - We're looking for people who want to learn on the job and develop the skills and knowledge to get ahead in the creative industries all whilst getting paid. Our apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining both a NVQ Level 2 and/or Level 3 qualification and workplace experience.
Investigative Journalism Scheme - This scheme is open to people with at least 2 years' experience in journalism that are ready to move on to the next stage of their career. Positions are in London, Manchester and Glasgow based production companies who work on our award winning investigative current affairs programme Dispatches.
4Screenwriting - Every year we look for 12 talented, original and diverse writers who currently have no broadcast credit but wish to write for television drama. The course is designed so that writers should be able to take part even if in full-time employment. Writers will be paid a small fee for attending the course.
Coming Up - Russell Tovey, Ashley Walters and Yasmin Paige are amongst the actors starring in Channel 4's Coming Up 2012 - the annual talent initiative which offers up-and-coming writers and directors the unique opportunity to showcase their work on national TV.
EG: For anyone interested in Channel 4 schemes, what's the next step?