When we imagine Channel 4 HQ, we see Phil and Kirsty behind the reception desk, the entire cast of Hollyoaks attempting to squeeze into one lift, and Jamie from Made In Chelsea trying to find caviar in the canteen. When some people think about apprenticeships, they don’t always imagine something so glamorous. So, because we’ve just added LOADS of Channel 4 apprenticeships to our opportunities page, we did a little investigating to find out what Channel 4 apprenticeships are really like.
We grilled Pria Quinlan, a 19-year-old E4 Marketing Apprentice, and Heather McCorriston, also 19, the Nations and Regions apprentice at Channel 4, to find out more about why they love work…
What do you do day to day as a Channel 4 apprentice?
“My apprenticeship involves working across the E4 social media platforms,” Pria told us. “My aim is to drive viewers to engage with the E4 brand and its content. I also work with internal and external stakeholders to advertise and promote Channel 4 content across all media platforms, and I assist the marketing department to ensure everything runs smoothly. I also manage the day to day duties of a partnership called ‘Slacker Club’, where we offer free screenings of new film release for students.”
“I’m part of the Nations and Regions team which is tasked with upping the commissions outside of London,” Heather told us. “We put on briefing events for all the independent producers in different areas, and then the commissioning editors come out and brief the talent there about what they’re looking for. My team has been involved in programmes like; Educating Cardiff, Super Shoppers, Dispatches and The Secret Life of Lego.”
What’s it really like working at Channel 4?
“I absolutely love it and I would not change it for the world,” Heather told us. “This year has been the best experience of my life without a doubt.”
“The London building is unreal,” she added. “There’s always really cool people in the foyer, whether that’s people you’ve seen on television, or people that are pitching amazing ideas. I get a bit more star struck around the Producers now because you’re like ‘oh you’re like the brains behind one of my favourite programmes ever’”.
But it seems impossible to make it in the TV industry!
“I never thought I would be able to get a job here as the media industry is extremely hard to get into, especially without experience and no contacts,” Pria told us. “But to work at Channel 4 you don’t have to be super lucky, you just have to have a passion for what you want to do.”
“My friends think it’s really cool, they’re all quite jealous!” says Heather. “I left university to take up my role as an apprentice, so the majority of my friends are all still in university and what I do day to day now as opposed to what I did day to day at university is very different.”
“I always knew that I wanted to work in television and in my last year of school I did a lot of work experience,” says Heather. “At uni I chose to study stuff that I’d been good at at school and that I’d enjoyed, but I sort of knew deep down I wasn’t passionate about that. I started looking around at apprenticeships and was lucky enough to be picked for this one.”
“This year has been such a learning experience,” she told us. “Even if I had done a media degree I don’t think I’d have learned as much about television as I have on this apprenticeship, I really have learned so much every day.”
What’s been your favourite day at work so far?
“During National Apprenticeship Week we ran an event here at Channel 4 and I went to meet Jay and Sketch from Tattoo Fixers to interview them!” Priya told us. “Recently I went to the House of Commons for a media industry event with politicians which was incredibly interesting.”
“I worked on Super Shoppers,” says Heather. “That was amazing! It was my first proper long-term experience in a production environment. I’d done running stuff before, but never spent four weeks in a production office. I went out on shoot for four days which was incredible and to see it go from the development meetings we had in the office all the way to it being on TV was pretty special.”
Would you recommend other young people apply for an apprenticeship with Channel 4?
“I would one million percent recommend other young people to apply for an apprenticeship with Channel 4,” says Priya. “The apprenticeship schemes here are completely flexible and come with some amazing opportunities which I don’t think you would get anywhere else. Not only will you learn so much during your time here, but the working atmosphere is incredible and everyone is very supportive, you are treated as a member of staff and are given responsibilities like everyone else.”
“There’s a stereotype that the interns or apprentices are the ones making the teas and coffees, but to actually get to be so involved in so many different projects has been really good,” agrees Heather. “I don’t feel like I’m 19 anymore, I feel like I’ve matured so much coming here and that I’ve got experiences that not a lot of other people would be able to get at this age without an apprenticeship. I know for certain I wouldn’t have been able to do half the stuff that I’ve done without my apprenticeship. I can’t fit into words how much I love and appreciate this role, honestly.”
Wanna apply? We asked Heather and Pria for their top tips…
Be unique: “Use the application as a personal portfolio for you to tell Channel 4 all about yourself,” says Pria. “The recruitment team have to read a lot of applications for the apprenticeships, it’s important to not be too generic and make sure your application is unique enough to stand out from the crowd.”
Demonstrate your skills: “Really read the application,” says Heather, “when it says on the job description ‘we are looking for someone who is organised and motivated’ be able to demonstrate how you do that. Give an example of how you fit the job description.”
Be flexible: “Have a willingness to be flexible and travel, because that’s how you get the most from your apprenticeship,” suggests Heather. “Say yes to as much as possible because that’s how you’re gonna make memories and have all the fun!”
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