I applied back in October for work experience and heard nothing. I e-mailed them to query my application as I knew it could take a while to hear back but I had heard nothing at all, only to coincidentally receive an email the very next morning saying I had not been successful. To be honest I think the BBC should improve their work experience options, I don't think it's fair to wait so long and at such short notice to inform people if they are successful or not - if they want to attract the right kind of applicant and expect a high quality of work from them then perhaps they should provide a more professional way of doing things! When I first read that I could be notified within two or three weeks prior to the start it seemed not only surprising to unfair; I have a full-time job to balance with part-time studying and it seems unjust that such an arrangement should favour those who have more time on their hands - it's not my fault I have to work and study constantly and I'm sure there are many more in the same position. I really hoped I would be shortlisted for work experience but now my opinion has altered. I never expected such poor communication, especially from a company whom I (grudgingly) give my money too each month. Not impressed, though I wouldn't let it put others off applying....
Apply for BBC Work Experience
Part I – The beginning seems easy
As a media student, I must admit University of Leeds provides various media and communication internships, placementes or part-time opportunities. You are announced every single time if some activities in this field appear and, as there is a fierce competition, you have to do your best to gain one of the places.
Certainly, one of the most appealing challenges for all students, but especially for media student, would be a BBC Work Experience place. This is the position which requires accuracy, a well-structured application and CV, patience and determination. No matter for what type of position you apply – from TV production to journalism-, and no matter if you apply for local or national department – you could apply either for cities like Leeds, or directly for London-, you have to be aware of the high number of people, not only students, who dream about doing work experience at BBC. The process of applying will take maybe hours, but make sure you do not complete the application in a hurry and be attentive at all details.
Firstly, you will have to choose in what area you would like to do this work experience. As mentioned above, there are numerous departments in the entire UK, so pick up the one is more suitable for you. Just as an advice, London is the most competitive one, so try and refocus on other big cities like Leeds, Birmingham or Bristol where they have local stations – for instance, Look North is the station in Leeds which covers the news from West Yorkshire.
Then, decide if the period of time fits you. Usually, there is work experience available every single month, but you will have to apply for specific periods like December, January and February, or March, April and May. You will not have to work all three months, only between 3 and 20 days, according to the agreement between you and BBC.
You will be required to give your personal details, to develop a little bit about you career history, about your education background, to make a list of your skills such as communication and time management, and to provide some additional information in order to help them identify and suggest roles for you in the future.
PART II – Not so easy anymore
Here comes the fun part! If you are a student and have been through the process of applying for a UK university, the next part will be pretty close with what you have been up to, but more complex. You will have to create a personal statement in which to demonstrate your knowledge and passion for the position you apply for. So, for instance, if you apply for a journalism position, keep your main focus on how much interest you had on TV news and current affairs. It is specified that you do not have to have any experience in the domain, but I believe you can demonstrate your passion for the position by integrating some of your extra activities based on this field. Include previous internships, published articles, volunteering, read books, basically any connections you had with media.
The next section would be interests and hobbies where you have the freedom to demonstrate who you really are. Another aspect similar with a uni application one is the personal reference. My advice would be not to use the same reference you used for university, but a more mature one – try and look for someone you got in contact with and you know it could have a powerful impact on your application (maybe a university teacher or a previous employer). You will also need his or her personal information in case BBC wants to contact him or her.
Next, you will have to demonstrate your desire to be part of the BBC media group. There will be particular questions which do not require for more than 300 words, but ask for demonstrating your knowledge and passion for the placement. Another question would sound like this: critique a recent programme/output from the placement you are applying to detailing what you liked or disliked and changes you would make. Here you have to demonstrate you have been engaged with their programme. You now understand why I said at the beginning of this article that filling in the application requires patience and accuracy. The last part requires for details regarding equal opportunities, so you can go back to your relaxed attitude. Before submiting the application, your CV also has to be uploaded, so make sure you have a well-structured curriculum vitae. I wish all of you good luck!