In the middle of the July heatwave, the media apprentices of 2017-18 were back at Sgil Cymru’s training centre in Pinewood Studio Wales for one last time as they completed their work on the level 3 diploma in Creative and Digital Media. As well as finishing their qualification, each of the apprentices met with industry experts Allison Dowzell of Screen Alliance Wales and Sian Gale from BECTU to talk about their next steps in the industry, and completed a CV workshop with Sgil Cymru’s Sue Jeffries and Matt Redd of Media CV Wizard.
Whilst the fifteen apprentices are now back working with their respective employers – Amplified Business Content, BBC Cymru Wales and ITV Cymru Wales – their classroom learning is over and the year-long programme will come to an end in September. Having learned so much in such a short space of time, some of the apprentices shared their personal highlights of the programme.
Owen Deacon, an apprentice trainee journalist with ITV Cymru Wales, remembered getting thrown in at the deep end on day one.
“On my first day I went with journalist, Rob Osborne and my mentor, Dafydd to Merthyr where I met Michael Sheen. The actor was picking up an award for the charity work that he’d been doing for the homeless.”
BBC Cymru Wales’ post-production apprentice Emily Anderson was surprised at just how much responsibility she had after only being at the BBC for a short time.
“A few months ago, I had to step up due to one of my co-workers being away on leave. This led to me being credited for the first time as an ‘assistant editor’ on a couple of episodes of Casualty. As an apprentice, I was never expecting to receive a credit, so seeing my name come up on TV was a very surreal experience.”
Much like Emily, Elizabeth Collins, costume apprentice at BBC Cymru Wales, also had an unexpected step up the ranks to costume standby on Casualty.
“A few pickups were required for certain episodes. This meant that the original team working on these episodes had moved onto another block. For a day I was on set with iPad in hand for continuity notes and noticeably wobbly knees. But with the help of the supervisor, I found my feet and felt a real sense of achievement after the day was up. It was long, and there were problems that needed addressing on the way, but with her advice my confidence rose and we overcame the problems together. With more days occurring like these I have truly felt a longing to remain and progress in this exciting industry.”
For Jennifer Stiling, Video Content and Design Apprentice with Amplified Business Content, her experience of working in a small team has been eye-opening.
“A big highlight is being able to travel around the UK and build my communication and professional social skills in working with clients and performing interviews. The best thing about this apprenticeship overall has been gaining a sense of independence within my role. I love having my own workstation and duties.”
Finally, BBC Cymru Wales’ digital and marketing apprentice Holly Atkinson was grateful for the support she received from Sgil Cymru’s team.
“The support that Sgil Cymru provide its apprentices is second to none. The team ensures that each apprentice is on track and progressing within the workplace and with their learning. Every learning block was an opportunity to catch up with other apprentices but also see Sgil Cymru’s smiley faces!”