Work experience at the BBC
April 5, 2013 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Hello, if you are familiar with the BBC - specifically, with its Work Experience programs - I'd love to hear your thoughts on a few questions.

1. Naive American here - I gather that "Work Experience" is about equivalent to an internship, with the difference that these are shorter ( generally 1-4 weeks). Can you confirm that the Trainee Schemes are not what I'm looking for?

2. I'm a sophomore at an American school that's about as reputable as Oxbridge. I've done a lot of work with our school radio station and newspaper. Do I have a decent chance of getting a work experience opportunity? I just have no clue how competitive they are.

3. I'd be happy to work nearly anywhere in the UK and am definitely not limiting myself to the London positions. However, most of the regional positions stipulate that they're looking for people with a good knowledge of that area. I'm guessing that the London positions will get more applications, but that I'd be at a disadvantage for the ones that require familiarity with the region. Given that my goal is to secure any work position at the Beeb this summer, should I focus on applying for positions in London or elsewhere?

4. In case anyone here has actually done one: Mind telling me about the process? How many you applied for, how much time you had between being notified and the starting date, how many other workers there were, how your experience was? Whether there are any especially great ones you'd recommend I apply to?

Thanks much, guys! I'll be sticking around in case I can clarify anything or supply more information. Here's hoping someone in a userbase as diverse as Mefi's will have the answers I seek :)
posted by estlin to Work & Money (3 answers total)
In my experience, you have to have permission to work in the EU.

"The BBC is only able to consider applications from those who already have the right to live and work in the UK , unless the advertisement specifically states otherwise. It is only possible for us to apply for work permits if there are no suitable applicants who are normally resident in the UK or nationals of the EU states. The same rules apply with work experience as with jobs concerning right to work in the UK."
So that's your first hurdle. I think if you're going to a UK based university, then you can apply for these. Trainee Schemes are for school leavers, ie, non-students.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:22 PM on April 5, 2013

Response by poster: Ahhh, Ideefixe, that's such a good point, and one that I remember seeing but glancing off. Shoot, my hopes are rapidly deflating. I'll poke around the work permits applications site, but I think my chances are slim. I was just hoping that because these things are so short that it wouldn't be an issue.
posted by estlin at 2:19 PM on April 5, 2013

I was on a traineeship with the BBC and we took on work experience placements there. It's been a while, but the trainee schemes are longer-term - the one I was on was a special affirmative action type thing and lasted three months, with no guarantee of a job at the end.

Generally, they last for four weeks, and no longer - they are not internships. We took only those over 18, and from a variety of backgrounds - some were students, some were working in similar roles such as traffic news, some were new to the whole thing, not all of them went to elite universities or were highly qualified but all showed an interest and aptitude for the role. I'm not sure how competitive they are, I'm afraid. You would, however, be doing actual work during them - not just sitting watching or filing - you will be answering the phones, taking notes, greeting guests. I worked in radio and the WE people did the actual job of a broadcast assistant, and that was great as they got actual experience. (Work experience is mandatory in schools here, and usually leads to the WE candidate stuck in a corner and forgotten about for a week.)

I'd recommend looking at local news stations and MediaCity in Salford, as a lot of the BBC operations are now based there.
posted by mippy at 8:23 AM on April 8, 2013

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