Wildwood Media explain why they value industry placements. (Part One)
Why industry placements are valuable to students
Please tell us why you volunteered to have industry placement students at Wildwood Media?
I believe having the opportunity at a young age to see what your chosen industry is like is very important. The best outcome from an industry placement is that you can make useful contacts, but generally you also get to understand what that particular environment is really like. We’re a production company so we like to take on students who want to work in film, TV and media production. However, there is another important reason to undertake an industry placement and that is to make sure you’ve chosen the right career - or even the right industry! I enjoy and am enthusiastic about taking on placement students because I personally benefited from it when I was a student at MidKent College. I remember going on work experience with others and some would come back and say that they’ve realised the film/TV industry isn’t for them. Whereas I came back loving it and stronger in my will to succeed in the industry. Neither is right or wrong, positive or negative - it’s a personal thing and important to know at the further education stage.
Please tell us a little about the projects that you involved our students on?
We’ve had students come and work on various productions. Some of the key projects have been a narrative film, corporate videos, live conferences and a fashion film and photoshoot in London. Student roles have varied from production assistant (which is what most industrial placement students start as) through to camera assistant and editor. Students that have proven themselves committed and talented have even been given their own projects or roles with responsibility and self-motivated work such as running a ‘Behind the Scenes’ video shoot, camera operator and lead photographer.
What skills did you teach our students while on their industry placement?
It’s so essential to get a decent placement, something I experienced when I was doing one all those years ago, was the feeling that they didn’t know what to do with me once I was actually there. It’s common for a lot of work experience to be making tea and coffee around the office/work environment. My main aim is to not offer placements like this (There may always be the need for a good tea or coffee maker - but it should be mixed with other duties!). If we don’t have suitable industry placement opportunities we won’t take people on. So, I like to think that the skills the students have learnt - or realised they need to improve upon - are film production techniques, the ‘how and why’ things happen on a film shoot, editing and camera operation. However, I hope the main elements they take away are the understanding of how things work in the film environment, the importance of realising and fully utilising an opportunity and also how important communication is. Most importantly, I hope they walk away realising that believing in yourself, understanding your own talents and making sure you applying yourself in the most beneficial way to both your future and the company you’re working with, is key to realising your ambitions.