Student View: Get That Essential Work Experience

Having secured a place on a competitive university course, unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. According to the graduate market in 2013, 47% of leading UK graduate employers would be unlikely to offer a position within their company to an applicant with no work experience.

With competition for jobs in the media industries particularly fierce, there are a number of ways in which undergraduates can become more appealing to employers during the course of a degree.

Here’s five ways undergraduates can make themselves more employable over the duration of their degree:


Internships are a great way to gain valuable experience that you simply cannot get from an education environment whilst providing the opportunity of potential employment once the internship is completed. In undertaking an internship, undergraduates stand to gain valuable experience as well as benefiting from a tremendous networking opportunity. More than 80% of the UK’s leading graduate employers are supporting paid internship programs for recent graduates during the 2012-2013 academic year. This amounts to a total of 11,387 places that are available with a further half of employers providing industrial placements typically lasting between six and twelve months.

Campaigns such as Intern Aware are also encouraging more legislation to be put in place to ensure that interns are paid for the work they carry out during internships.

Gaining Experience as a Runner

Gaining experience as a runner is invaluable and for many film and television graduates is a necessary stage to progress into a higher position within a production crew. Working as a runner often involves working long hours for not a lot of financial reward yet the networking opportunities make this investment worthwhile.

You can find the latest runner jobs on ProductionBase here.

Short Courses

Whilst tuition fees may seem exceptionally expensive, if the university course doesn’t provide the technical or practical education that you’re looking for then why not sign up for a short course to bridge any gaps in your skill set. Institutions such as Raindance offer evening classes with established industry personnel at affordable prices.

Creative Projects

Perhaps the most important (and obvious) way to improve your CV and employment prospects is to work on creative projects throughout the duration of a degree. Ensuring you have a competitive showreel ready following graduation will enable you to showcase your work to potential employers and demonstrate your experience of different working environments.


Although this kind of work is largely unpaid, volunteering at film festivals provides an opportunity to gain an insight into an important side of the film industry whilst networking with like-minded people and industry professionals.

Whilst gaining experience is invaluable to a graduate CV, the real incentive for an undergraduate to pursue opportunities such as those previously stated is to gain an insight into the career path that you wish to follow. Even unrewarding and somewhat unsuccessful experiences can give you an insight into the careers that you thought were for you but after working in the environment are clearly not. Those two weeks spent working in film distribution could gain you an earlier start in film production.