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February 18, 2021⚡️3 min read

My First Placement In The BBC

It took well over a year thanks to the pandemic, but I was finally working in the BBC

The apprenticeship started in September 2019, but it wasn't until December 2020 that I'd have my first internal placement

Although my time with CNN was amazing, I was excited to feel like part of the BBC again with this placement. It was always the case when I told people I'm on a BBC apprenticeship, they'd ask "How's the BBC?". No longer would I have to tell them that I haven't actually worked in the BBC yet - the time had finally come!

Often as an apprentice, you're put with the support engineers who handle all kinds of, well, support. This can be broadcast critical stuff, or you might just be fixing cameras. Depends on the day...

A different kind of placement

Me de-rigging the studio gallery

My placement was a little different, as I'd be put with the project engineers. These guys would tend to get jobs focused on the building and installation of studios and equipment - which is really cool. If not for the pandemic, this placement could've allowed me to travel and work in studios all over - but I'd have to be patient as I'd be working from home to start.

In total I'd have three projects to sink my teeth into. While I was at home, I could plan out these projects and get some research in - reaching out to the other engineers if I got lost.

Keeping me busy

Me de-rigging the studio

These projects ranged from installing a mac mini for Skype, to tearing up an old studio before installing the shiny, new stuff. Pretty hard to do from home, but we actually managed with what little time in the building we had. Installing that new studio would take up most of my time in the building, and it was a great opportunity to get familiar with lots of new tech like Dante, NDI, Bird Dog etc. In my 5 Lessons For The Clueless Apprentice, I noted the dependence of networks in the world. Within the new landscape of broadcasting, where everything is IP network-based, it's no different. So getting hands-on with all this tech was amazing.

Making connections within the BBC

One of the best things about this placement was really just working in the BBC and being able to get a look at engineering operations in the corporation, while meeting the people in these teams. As an apprentice I spend a lot of my time thinking about where I see myself in the future, and what I can do to make it happen. Having conversations with people where you tell them what you're interested in; more often than not they'll know someone you can speak to who could point you in the right direction.

Ready for more

To finish, this placement has given me a taste of life in the BBC and I'm excited to keep in touch with the team and continue to get involved wherever I can. But, it's left me wanting more - seeing as I only managed to get in the building occasionally. Hopefully soon, I'll be able to float around the BBC and really get stuck in as much as possible; making up for lost time.