Hear from local business owner Chris Newberry from Wildwood Media of how MidKent College students can benefit from gaining an industry placement. They're so important for your CV, networking and future career opportunities in the industry!

What advice would you give to a business thinking of offering industry placements?

You have a chance to have a voice in how the next generation is prepared for work. Don’t ignore it and see it as ‘hassle’ and don’t just take someone on and give them nothing to do. Use this individual to their full potential - the best students have wonderful ideas, others are ready to work hard and find out more about your industry. You wouldn’t blindly hire someone, so don’t do it here. I like to meet with potential work experience students, talk with their tutor etc. I want students who are prepared to work hard and make the most of the opportunity, their current skill level is less important to me than their willingness to learn.

What advice would you give to a student looking for an industry placement? 

It’s not just about getting some experience and ticking it off - it’s about taking the right opportunities. A placement isn’t a waste of time - but it can be, if not chosen carefully and taken seriously. The best industry placement student I’ve had to date was just incredible. She realised the opportunity in front of her and took it with both hands. It’s led to multiple work experience and paid work opportunities. Taking our industry as an example, film and video production, if you want to work in that then find something related. Don’t work in a retail environment (with the excuse that they sell DVDs!), there is nothing wrong with that as a job but if you want to MAKE films then it’s the wrong environment for you. If you can’t find a production company, freelancer, post-house, hire/equipment company or studio to take you on, then think outside the box.

Regardless of how you come about your opportunity, when you have it the single most important piece of advice I can give is this: MAKE THE MOST OF IT! Don’t see it as something that HAS to be done. Push yourself, see this as a week where you’re stepping into the future or into your dreams (if your dream is to make films!). By working hard and showing enthusiasm, not only will you enjoy the experience more and come away with vital skills and advice, but you’ll start to make a name for yourself. The world runs on who knows who - and this is never truer than in film production and photography. By impressing you could be opening the door to immediate work opportunities (including apprenticeships) or work experience or, at the very least, allowing your ‘employers’ and fellow staff to remember you for the future where they may recommend you to other organisations etc.

Why do you think placements are important to a student’s career prospects?

Quite simply, it’s about taking that first step into your future. You’ll learn what is happening in the workplaces you’re aspiring too. How software and hardware is really used. How people talk to each other and how roles interact. How projects and run and who does what. You’ll also be able to make a name for yourself which cannot harm. Work experience shouldn’t be about getting a job at the end (it’s not a really long job interview!) but it should be seen as an opportunity to prove to yourself and the world what you can do - and that commitment and enthusiasm will endear you to more people than it won’t. Believe in yourself and make the most of every opportunity.

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If you missed part one, you can see what Wildwood Media's advice for employers and students. Alternatively, you can check out our media courses.