Making the transition from University to a meaningful and rewarding career can be difficult and at times it might seem impossible to know where to start. For students looking to work in the media sector, it can appear especially difficult to know how to get relevant experience and how to make the contacts who can open a door to a career in Film, TV, Radio or Journalism. Luckily for students at the University of Hull, five alumni returned to share their advice and experience with those hoping to follow in their footsteps.
Organised in conjunction with Amy Jackson, Hull University Union Vice-President Activities, and Josh Baker, Torch TV Station Manager, Media Alumni Day put aspiring students into a room with alumni who had forged careers in the sector, and enabled them to ask questions and get the information they needed to help them as they pursue their own careers.
“One thing I always thought would be a great example to students would be to showcase people who were once in their shoes and went on to succeed,” said Josh. “Over 60 students packed in to listen to some insightful talks from our speakers. The workshops definitely raised the bar of what I’d hoped it would achieve. They were incredibly engaging. It couldn’t have gone much better from our point of view and we hope that it inspired the students who attended. Hopefully one day some of them can return and talk at future Media Alumni Days.”
If the atmosphere on the day is anything to go by, with students and alumni contributors alike buzzing with energy, then there’s no doubt that there was plenty of inspiration to go around.
“I enjoyed the Media Alumni Day,” said student Darren Edwards. “Speaking as an aspiring broadcast TV producer, my one-to-one session with Dan McCulloch at the end was really useful, and his words will definitely help move a project I am working on forwards. Jane Bennett Powell was a great host, adding her own broadcast industry anecdotes to the mix for good measure. And it was lucky that there was lots of sandwiches and cakes for lunch because it was a surprisingly-high attendance for an early Saturday morning with end of semester deadlines looming.”
The line-up of alumni contributors undoubtedly had a lot to do with the good turnout. Students were able to meet and network with Executive Producer Dan McCulloch, whose forthcoming work includes the BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials Trilogy’; Andrew Oldbury, a Creative Producer who has worked on Holby City, Coronation Street, and is currently working on a slate of projects for film, TV and games; Lucy Coward, a Freelance Presenter and Journalist working on the radio primarily for Classic FM; and Sam Hawcroft, a journalist who worked for the Hull Daily Mail and is now owner and editor of H&E Naturist. Our host for the day was alumna Jane Bennett Powell who started out in radio, moved on to television news with BBC and Channel 4, and who currently works as a freelance communications consultant and trainer.
“I do hope the students who packed into the Wilberforce lecture theatre took away a great deal of inspiration and optimism about the wide range of opportunities available in the media today – and some good tactics for securing some of them!” said Jane.
“It was terrific to see students so engaged and passionate about pursuing careers in the arts,” said Andrew. “Their dedication to creating opportunities for themselves and building on Hull’s legacy of a vibrant student media is a great example of how attending the University helps prepare students for the workplace”
Alumni Engagement Manager