An appetite for production: meet this year's trainees and apprentices
This year’s production trainees and apprentices have begun work placements across the BBC, on productions ranging from EastEnders to Woman’s Hour.
The 16 production trainees, selected from this year’s Production Talent Pool, are embarking on a fast-track traineeship for the programme-makers and industry leaders of the future. The 10 apprentices will earn a nationally recognised level-3 qualification in creative digital media when they complete their year of learning and work placements.
All have a wide range of backgrounds and experience that they will bring to a variety of exciting roles in TV, radio and online.
Production trainee Melanie Brown worked in international development and spent six years in communication roles at various NGOs before doing an MA in international journalism. She’s worked extensively in Afghanistan, India and Latin America, and also produces and presents radio features for EastCast, a weekly East London arts and culture show.
Mugabi Turya comes from a very different background: he was formerly a solicitor practising family law, child protection and community care. Since his time on the PTP, he has worked as an assistant producer on Radio 4’s You and Yours and the Sunday programme, and interviewed the likes of the Pope’s astronomer and the Kaiser Chiefs.
Lydia Harrison took a more traditional route, spending three years studying TV production in Bournemouth while also working on the London Olympics and co-hosting a radio show. She says she loves scriptwriting and thinks the PTS is an “incredible opportunity” to develop her creative storytelling.
They and their fellow trainees will be working on placements that include BBC 6 Music, Imagine, Arts Development, Holby City and the Steve Wright and Ken Bruce shows.
Before beginning their initial placements, the trainees received two weeks’ training at the BBC Academy to boost their skills in radio production, creativity and storytelling. They’ll be going in at researcher level, and by their final placement may take on assistant producer roles as their production experience increases.
The 10 production apprentices completed four weeks’ training in conjunction with Westminster Kingsway College before taking on their first of three placements. Academic modules continue throughout the year in between the placements, ensuring the apprentices get both the practical skills and background theory the qualification requires.
The apprentices include Martha Pazienti-Caidan, a 20-year-old from Peckham who started out aged 16 on youth-led London station Reprezent 107.3FM. She’s since gone on to present its weekly UK bass music show, as well as taking on other work with the station and elsewhere, and regular DJ slots around the country.
Janine Weaver worked in debt management for three years before becoming a production apprentice. She managed to combine her specialist knowledge of the debt industry with her love of the media when she landed a place as a junior researcher on a BBC Three documentary about young people and payday loans. She sees the apprenticeship as her first step towards a role developing programme ideas.
Charlie Mott says he has always dreamt of a career in the media and, after deciding that university was not for him, decided the apprenticeship was the perfect place to start. He’s worked in community radio, commercial radio, and also volunteered for the British Heart Foundation as a reporter making videos on the effects of obesity and smoking in children and young adults.
The first lot of placements will see the apprentices taking on runner and junior researcher roles on a variety of productions including Strictly Come Dancing, Sport Relief, drama production, Radio 2 and the Film Show.
Placements for both the trainees and apprentices are located at BBC production centres around the country, and seek to both make use of their existing skills while pushing them out of their comfort zones.
“I’m excited that we’ve managed to secure such a great range of placements for this year’s production trainees and apprentices,” says BBC Academy talent executive Simon Wright. “They’re an amazing bunch of people and I’m sure they’ll make their mark on the production whatever roles they find themselves in.
“I’m sure this will mark the next step on some very interesting careers - I can’t wait to see how they get on.”
We’ll be covering what the production trainees and apprentices get up to on the Academy website over the coming year.