When Peter started studying English and Linguistics at Queen's he knew he wanted his future career to allow him to keep writing. Today he's sharing how a Queen's bursary has helped him with Work Experience Opportunities.
A message preached to me by everyone in uni is to grab every opportunity possible. It’s no longer good enough to have an ace Russell Group degree - you need experience on top of it. When I graduate this summer (which is scarily close!), I’m hoping to get into the world of journalism so I’ve tried to get as much experience as possible
When I first started Queen’s, I knew I wanted to use my writing skills but how and where I didn’t have a clue. In one of my modules, we were shown a huge range of career paths on offer to students of English. One field I’d never thought of was public relations. From this, I went onto look at the range of PR companies in and around Belfast. After having my CV checked by the careers service, I fired it off to numerous PR companies, with my personal tutor being my referee. I went on to secure a placement at Rumour Mill PR on the Lisburn Road near Elms BT9. It showed me that PR wasn’t for me, but that means it was still super useful.
Every year, the BBC offers hundreds of work experience placements throughout their numerous UK offices. Coming from Yorkshire, their placements at MediaCityUK near Manchester were perfect. To get a placement, I had to be interviewed so I honed my skills with a mock interview with the careers service. This practice was so worthwhile as I managed to get a placement at the childhood staple TV – Newsround! It was an amazing two weeks researching stories, sitting in on bulletins and coming up with story ideas. While this placement was quite expensive with all the travel involved, my faculty (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) offer a bursary to fund this sort of activity. Without such a bursary, there’s no way I could have done this placement! The BBC also offers placements in Belfast so I’d recommend going for those!
After realising that TV was for me, I thought why not try and get another placement. When I saw an advert for placements at ITV This Morning I had to go for it! This would be based at the famous Television Centre in London. I quickly poked a friend in London to stay with me but the travel there would be expensive. After speaking with the careers service, I found there was a Development Weeks bursary on offer to help facilitate placements during the summer. Once again without this money, this placement wouldn’t have been possible. I had an amazing week, shadowing the show’s production runner dealing with all the star-studded guests including Love Islanders, TV presenters and even a few politicians!
I found out about this scheme when scrolling through my Twitter feed. It was a competition allowing you to create a broadcast quality news report. As the Northern Irish finalist, I worked with UTV, with my mentor being journalist Judith Hill, a Queen’s English graduate herself. With her help, I created a report all about students from Great Britain choosing to study in Northern Ireland making Queen’s the perfect filming location - especially with the beautiful Lanyon Building!
Here’s a link to my report I made with Breaking into News
When my personal tutor told me about a module that allowed me to gain degree credit for a work placement in final year it was a no brainer! Having really enjoyed my time at UTV, I thought I’d try to gain a bit more experience. The module required you to be on placement for 100 hours. However, I was enjoying the placement so much and it was so useful that I must have done closer to 150 hours! I shadowed reporters out in the field, scripted bulletins and edited clips that were used on TV. It was such a valuable experience and has given me fantastic connections for that all important graduate job!
How you could not love a placement at UTV with this view?
To find out more about the Development Weeks opportunities at Queen's, click here.
English with Linguistics | 2nd year | Huddersfield, England
I am 21 year old Yorkshire lad, born and bred, but now studying English with Linguistics at Queen's. I decided to come to over to Northern Ireland after many holidays visiting family across the country. I am part of the university politics society and the debating society. This semester I'm also doing a French language course - wish me luck! I'm a keen swimmer which is certainly needed when this country has so much good food to offer!
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