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Career Insights on Media and Digital Media Day

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Girls’ and Boys’ Division pupils enjoyed a Media and Digital Media Day, and also welcomed pupils from St Joseph’s School in Horwich for the event. Pupils found out more about the wide range of careers available in this field as they heard from a host of guests, including two keynote speakers.

Mike Bushell is a sport presenter on BBC’s Breakfast who has tried out 474 sports with the aim of inspiring others to find the right sport for them. He explained how this came about: people were switching off sports bulletins as they felt excluded from sport. Mike by chance found out about the UK Sled Dog Racing Relay in Berkshire while out walking his dog, and suddenly realised that they must be so many more unknown sports. He therefore asked ordinary people to tell him about their sports, and this part of the show is still going strong years later.

He added that everyone has the “instinct to play” and that this, along with the social and physical benefits, is the essence of sport.

Mike also talked about his life and career, including writing his own newspaper as a child, acting in a school production, and working for newspapers before getting his TV break. He said that all of these experiences gave him stories to tell, but none more so than touring Europe with his band and visiting Berlin at the time the Berlin Wall came down. He encouraged pupils to go out and get life experiences to talk about during job interviews.

He also discussed some of the fascinating sports he has reported on and tried out, including Quidditch, Bog Snorkelling and Worm Charming, and got pupils to play a game of ‘Sport or Spoof?’ where they had to guess which were real sports and which ones he had made up.

Sarah Jones is the Deputy Head of Media at Coventry University and a former journalist and TV presenter. She describes herself as a storyteller. She works extensively with virtual reality, or VR, and her keynote speech was on the subject of immersive media and virtual reality.

She began by discussing her career as a journalist and TV presenter, describing her early work on hospital radio and as an ‘eye in the sky’ reporter talking about the state of the midlands motorways. She emphasised that putting herself forward for things had been very important to furthering her career and encouraged pupils to do the same.

Sarah also talked about the fact that although virtual reality has been around for a long time, a new wave has arrived with emerging technology. She also described some of the varied routes that can lead into working in this fascinating field. Her keynote speech went on to discuss the many applications of virtual reality in creative ways.

Old Boy Mike Lodmore returned to School as one of the day’s guest speakers to give a workshop about broadcast engineering. He now works for dock10 TV studios at Media City in Salford. In his fascinating session, he allowed pupils to set up a miniature TV studio, complete with a camera hooked up to the room’s TV screen, and explained about his work with dock10. Pupils enjoyed learning about the technical specifications of the equipment while setting it up and seeing it work, and had lots of questions for Mike throughout.

A variety of other talks took place during the day on subjects related to media and digital media: Margaret Burgin, Future Skills Manager at the BBC, gave a workshop on how to highlight key skills when applying for roles in the media; Saiqa Chaudhari from the Bolton News discussed working in journalism; Aaron Cummings, an Apprenticeship Manager with the White Room, talked about apprenticeship opportunities across creative and digital industries; there was a talk from Neil Dougan, lecturer in Film and Television at the University of Bolton; Kevin Fenmore, the Programme Leader at the School of Media, Design and Technology at the University of Bradford, discussed games, animation and visual effects degrees; Rikesh Lad of The Skills Company gave an overview of social media pathways and how social media is used in the workplace; and two members of the Tower FM team, Jon Holling, Head of Presentation and Breakfast presenter, and Neil Leadbetter, Head of Street Team, talked about working in radio broadcasting.

This all made for an interesting day which gave pupils an excellent overview of the diverse roles available in media and digital media.

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Sport presenter Mike Bushell with Boys

Sport presenter Mike Bushell with Boys' Division pupils

Sarah Jones talking to pupils about Virtual Reality

Sarah Jones talking to pupils about Virtual Reality

Old Boy Mike Lodmore setting up filming equipment with pupils from St Joseph

Old Boy Mike Lodmore setting up filming equipment with pupils from St Joseph's School