Guest blogger Written by

This is a guest blog post by current student George Merritt studying BA (Hons) Media Production. 

Placement Company: ResLifeBU

Placement Job Title: ResLifeBU Digital Content Creator

LinkedIn account link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/george-merritt-a5862b175/

One of the most exciting prospects of studying at BU in Media Production was having the opportunity to take a sandwich-placement year in industry. Before I was even at University it was on my mind that I didn’t want to graduate without having had a year’s experience from a professionals perspective as I don’t think I would’ve been ready for the step up when leaving University. Therefore, I made it my top priority in Second Year to search far and wide for placement opportunities across the country. But believe me, this was not a straight forward process.

The process of finding placement is tiring, demotivating and in general just not very fun. Get ready for employers not reading your emails and just in general not receiving any replies. However, do not take this ever as a personal thing most of the time it’s because these companies are that big and busy your email either slips away into spam or they simply aren’t looking to hire. I think that’s the biggest thing I learnt, once you get past that initial hurdle where you begin self-doubting your own worth in a professional environment you can begin to approach more and more companies without it feeling like a chore.

Top Tip:

There is another option though. This helped me massively and secured me an interview for what would eventually be my 12-month placement. A phone call. Sounds simple? But you’d be surprised as to how many students are too nervous to call and instead will opt to hide behind a screen pinging the same blanket email out to hundreds of employers! So if you can find a phone number, dial it and just try and get a word in from a personal note as this shows initiative. Trust me it works!

Highlights of my Placement:

I don’t really know where to start! I’ve been involved with so many fantastic opportunities, when I look back at my favourite parts I would have to say the travelling aspects stand out and this is something I will look for in future work. I’ve gone and filmed on Brownsea Island, at Colour Runs and even down on the beach before the sun’s risen. It’s actually good fun being up at 4am! The team I was a part of helped massively as I worked alongside fellow students on different occasions – this had it’s downfalls but I’ll get onto that.

Working with the Home Office and the effect of COVID-19:

Working within a sector of the University on placement created a world of new opportunities through the Uni’s vast array of contacts. So much so that I was the lead director on a project for the ‘Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service’ in partnership with the ‘Home Office’. Yes, the Home Office. I couldn’t believe it when they mentioned the idea and with that I grabbed it with both hands and ran away with it. The project was going so well and I was being taken to so many amazing locations including the ‘Fire and Rescue HQ’ out near Stone Henge.

However, like a lot of projects and work across the UK it was put on hold by COVID-19 and I doubt I’ll be able to finish this project before my contract ends which is possibly the hardest thing for me to take from all of this as it would’ve been such an incredible project to feature on my portfolio.

My Portfolio and realising my Future Plans:

Being involved with any creative course it’s always important to have a presence online in the world we live in. Before I started placement, I had an Instagram account however it wasn’t up to standard and was a bit all over the place. So, in October of 2019, a few months into my placement – I started a new account and made it my aim to post 3 times a week. This way I could build an audience and show my craft outside of my placement work. Some weeks there’d be more but I’d always aim for at least 3 posts. After having a meeting with my PDA, I was advised to translate this to LinkedIn in order to not miss out on other professionals not seeing my work. A few months down the line and in March the UK was forced into lockdown and this meant I returned to my family home to work from home where I still am whilst writing this. What I took from this opportunity during lockdown was to grow my portfolio in my local area by offering out free work to small businesses struggling during the pandemic. I didn’t know if it would work, but after one post on Facebook – I’ve now worked with 6 different brands across the UK including as far away as Birmingham and a brand in Holland who sent me a product. I’m averaging around 500 new people seeing my work each week as well and this is all just weekend work alongside my placement so I cannot complain.

Having had so much success since the lockdown, I’m beginning to realise my strengths and that other companies regard me as a Professional. Which I guess is the whole point of coming to University right?

I hope this has helped whoever’s lucky enough to be reading this!

Find out more about studying BA (Hons) Media Production.

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