NEP UK Student Open Day 2018 a resounding success

NEP UK’s fourth Student Open Day was a great success, with over 450 students in attendance from various educational establishments.

Held at NEP UK’s Bracknell headquarters on Thursday 11 October, young people from a plethora of universities, colleges and sixth forms including the local Bracknell and Wokingham College, Solent University, the University of Surrey, and Leeds and The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts attended.

Held in NEP UK’s aircraft hanger-sized warehouse, students were able to explore OB trucks, use fixed and overhead wire cameras, practice swooping shots with a jib, get to grips with the technologies NEP UK uses on a daily basis, and talk with people already in the roles they are looking at moving into post-studies.

Students also listened to panellists speaking about a wide range of areas throughout the day, from opportunities in broadcasting to top tips for interviews.

The panels included several looking at creating a more diverse profile of people within the broadcast industry from the perspective of gender and ethnicity, and covered four case studies: the Olympics from Discovery Communications with NEP UK; the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and NEP UK; the Royal Wedding; and Fixed Rig.

The organiser of the event, NEP UK marketing manager Kayte Burns, said of the day: “This was the biggest Student Open Day we have held so far. Over 450 students made the hard work and time given by our staff, sister companies, suppliers, clients and speakers at SOD all worthwhile. I am very grateful to everyone who got involved, so many people supported this event this year and the students were fabulous, very engaging, smart and enthusiastic.

“NEP UK are delighted with the feedback we have received so far and already have students applying for jobs from this year’s SOD!  We have 10 positions filled from positions from previous years, 15 work experience and 15 work placements, so we are seeing the positive tangible results from this event and are creating even more new initiatives as a direct result from the day.”

As well as a two-stream conference, NEP UK had gathered many of its partners together to provide students with information on what their companies offer in terms of work placements, training and job roles. Those present included newly acquired NEP company, SIS, plus For-A, Ross, Grass Valley, Creative Technology, and Clear-Com, NEP Bow Tie, RISE, Ross, Vislink, EVS, Sony, Grass Valley, Techex, Panasonic, Calrec, Lammo, Luna Remote Systems and Sky bought a VR studio.

After an introduction to the day from Burns, Steve Jenkins, president for NEP UK and Ireland welcomed the students. The panels began with the BBC’s Peter Taylor, production engineering manager, talking about opportunities in broadcast and at the BBC, followed by Sky Production Services’ head of studios, Inga Ruehl, presenting what Sky is about and its career initiatives for young people.

On the Women in Broadcast panel, Anna Ward, head of production at Premier League Productions, advised students on how to approach their move into the broadcast workplace: “Be clear on what you want to do; you will get knock-backs, everyone does, but you’ve got to have a thick skin. Definitely capitalise on the opportunities you’re given.”

Meanwhile, fellow panellist, Sky’s Ruehl, said: “It’s never been a better time than now to be a woman getting into this industry.”

Mama Youth Project, a charity that trains young people from under-represented backgrounds to succeed in the media industry, was also in attendance. Its CEO, Bob Clarke, spoke on the Diversity and Inclusion in the Media Industry panel. During that panel, Clarke commented on changing stereotypes in broadcast that, “if we get it right in this industry, by default it’ll rub off into society”. Alongside Clarke were Ingrid Simmons, an independent HR director, Kevin Ramsey, senior manager (studios) at BSkyB, and Ward. NEP is a partner and sponsor with Mama Youth, which is based at its partner Sky’s offices in Isleworth, London.

Burns concluded that she hopes to expand and broaden the day going forward. She said: “We are already planning next year and we also have some great new enterprises in the pipeline along with SOD that also address the skills gap in the broadcast industry.

“We hope to partner up with even more supporters of SOD for 2019 to take the event to the next level, after all, we all face the same challenges so the more people in the business involved in creating opportunity for the young technologists, engineers and broadcasters of the future the better for the industry.”

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