Interview with an Apprentice – Mairéad Harris

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2019, we’ve interviewed 5 of our past apprentices who have achieved success in their careers following their apprenticeship. Our fourth interviewee of the series is Mairéad Harris.

Name:                                    Mairéad Harris
Age:                                         22
From:                                      Powys
Apprentice Employer:        BBC Cymru Wales
Apprentice Job Title:          Costume Apprentice

What were you doing prior to the apprenticeship?
Before I started my apprenticeship, I was studying for my A Levels.

Why did you want to do an apprenticeship?
I wanted to do the apprenticeship because costume and anything fabric related has always been a big interest of mine. I was very keen to explore the world of costume in film and TV, so the apprenticeship was the perfect opportunity to get a foot in the door of the industry.

The idea of not going to university to do the apprenticeship was also a big factor for me, as I much prefer to be thrown in at the deep end and learn on the job.

What did your apprentice job entail?
I worked on both the prepping and shooting sides of productions. The prep side of things entailed maintenance of the clothing, the storage room (which is like one massive walk-in wardrobe), the Main Artist room (which is the store for all of the cast’s clothing). I also ensured that the shooting and prep teams were working in an organised and practical environment, which makes their jobs as easy as possible. On the shooting side of things, I helped on set with the continuity of the main cast’s costumes and also the supporting artists. I also helped set up the costumes for the shooting days which entails pulling out the correct costumes for the scenes that are to be shot in a day and making sure they all look tidy and have the right accessories.

What programmes/projects did you work on?
Throughout my apprenticeship, I worked on Casualty and Pobol y Cwm.

What happened when you completed your apprenticeship?
After completing my apprenticeship, I was kept on at Casualty as a Costume Runner for a year, before going freelance. Since then I have worked on many different productions including the second series of Keeping Faith and Netflix’s Sex Education.

Have you grown as a result of the apprenticeship?
I feel I have matured since doing the apprenticeship as I was working with people older than me and although it is a really fun industry to work in there is definitely an etiquette on and off set that is really important to stick to.

What is the next career step for you?
I am hoping to step up to costume standby level this year which is a big step but I feel I am ready after being trained by such brilliant teams.