How early on did you have an idea of what career appealed to you?
From as early as I can remember I have had a passion for writing, story telling and crucially for the career that appeals to me today, a fondness for questioning the world around me. So much so, I was what you might describe as one of those annoying children constantly asking my parents, teachers and other grown-ups; “why?”
Did you receive any careers advice at school? If not where from?
Career advice at school with hindsight was limited – limited in both depth and breadth. Showing my age – I completed my A-Levels ten years-ago this summer and at that time there appeared to be a belief within the education system and amongst peers that university and obtaining a degree was the only route to success which at 18 was the last thing I wanted to hear. I felt I needed a break from education after being in the British education system since the age of 4. At 18 I also didn’t feel I had the confidence nor did I want to incur the debt associated with higher education but the amount then is a far cry from the debt that awaits graduates of today.
I have been extremely lucky in my working life to have met some incredible people. I have been coached, mentored and encouraged to achieve more and particular credit goes to Chris Sones (Waitrose) and Adam Todman (South East Water). The latter gave me helpful guidance and support – he encouraged me to apply to university and to pursue my dreams.
What college or Uni did you attend and why?
After completing my A-Levels at UCTC I had a four year interregnum of study before reading Humanities: Politics, History and Ideology BA Hons. at the University of Brighton. I have now just completed the NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) diploma in journalism at an independent media training college – Brighton Journalist Works.
What did the course teach you?
My degree expanded my knowledge of the world around me, it sharpened my critical analysis and it also gave me the confidence to challenge ideas and conduct academic research and engage in academic discussion. Humanities graduates might not go on to earn huge salaries but they are able to shed some light on the human condition and explain the ideas that have shaped our world. The course also taught me self-discipline and the importance of deadlines – I still sometimes get sleepless nights over my 12,000 word dissertation.
My diploma in journalism has developed my writing skills – it has made my writing sharper and tighter and given me the professional confidence to go out and find a story and contact the relevant sources to develop the story before presenting it to an audience and then engage with the audience to develop the story still further.
What did you do when you left Uni?
When I left uni, as when I left sixth form college, I knew I had to get a job. I couldn’t afford to be out of work for long. I applied for only a handful of jobs and I was very lucky to get a job within a couple of months. I worked for more than a year for leading industrial fastenings manufacturer and distributor TR Fastenings as a European Distribution Account Manager, managing the key accounts of existing clients as well as looking for innovate ways to develop new clients.
How easy was it to get a job after Uni?
Getting a job wasn’t difficult after uni but with hindsight perhaps, I should have thought longer and harder about what job I wanted but as I mentioned previously I needed a job.
Did your Uni show you any apprenticeship opportunities or did you do a placement?
My uni did not show me any apprenticeship opportunities. As my course was heavy on academic learning there were no placements associated with the course.
Has working with Uckfield News been helpful and in what way?
Working with Uckfield News has been invaluable! The work that Cathy Watson does for this community is outstanding and to be a contributor to the site is a huge privilege. Contributing has not only given me the chance to showcase my work and help me to secure by-lines for my portfolio but it has also given me another industry professional to discuss ideas with. Cathy and her husband Paul both have more than 30 years each of journalism experience which I can tap into and both are very supportive of me – giving me timely and constructive feedback. They have also given me unique opportunities that other trainee journalists simply wouldn’t get – for example covering the UK General Election in May live from the Wealden count – reporting, interviewing, photographing and tweeting.
What do you plan to do next?
Ah! The 64 million dollar question… I look forward to contributing much more to Uckfield News. As well as Uckfield News I intend to increase my freelance portfolio by getting more work published across the local press of Sussex and hopefully beyond! I also intend to secure more work experience and internships – I have already had one internship at the BBC South East studios in Tunbridge Wells, I have a placement with the Press Association in London in the autumn and I hope to get a place on an internship with the Daily Mail, I was unsuccessful in my application for a trainee place this year but I have been encouraged to apply for an internship by the Mail interviewing panel.
What is your ultimate goal, employment or self-employment?
My ultimate goal is employment in broadcast journalism. The ultimate would be to be a broadcaster for a leading TV network; the BBC, ITN or Sky. Better still, a US network such as NBC or CNN – I do look across the Atlantic with envy at the TV new channels and their near infinite resources.
Article written by Jacob White on behalf of Sue Edwards, Premium CVs