BBC Work Experience
BBC work experience is a chance to see and experience the work that the BBC does in real life.
The BBC offers work experience opportunities in:
- Departments supporting the running of the BBC
Work experience at the BBC provides an opportunity to get hands-on experience of the job itself.
It is also an opportunity to:
- Understand how the BBC works in practice
- Develop skills that can be used in future work
- Network and build contacts/connections within the BBC
Who Is BBC Work Experience For?
Most BBC work experience placements are for anyone aged 18 years and over. However, there are a small number of opportunities for those aged between 16–18 years.
You can apply to BBC work placements once a year and can only apply if you have the right to work in the UK through being a British citizen or having a work visa.
What Work Experience Opportunities Does BBC Offer?
The BBC offers work experience across the areas of television, radio, news, journalism and business support.
Opportunities are available in:
- Some other regions in England (mostly radio)
- Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stornoway)
- Wales (Cardiff)
- Northern Ireland (Belfast and Londonderry)
The type of opportunity is dependent on location. Not all opportunities are available in each location.
For example, a lot of TV opportunities in England are only available in London and Salford, but there are radio opportunities available elsewhere in England.
In general, BBC work placements are varied. They offer the chance to get a behind-the-scenes view. You might experience budgeting, scheduling, filming and solving everyday problems while on placement.
BBC Work Experience in Television
All BBC television work placement opportunities are for those aged over 18 years.
Placement opportunities in Television are mainly available in London and Salford, and sometimes regionally.
In London, television work experience opportunities include promotional photography for documentaries or entertainment.
The promotional photography department is part of BBC Creative. This is the BBC’s in-house marketing and design team.
BBC work experience in this area provides opportunities to shadow the creative director and responsibilities include producing images used to promote BBC programmes.
In Salford, work experience at the BBC covers children’s television, sport and learning.
Work placements in BBC Sport cover the areas of production, editorial and journalism. Responsibilities include shadowing BBC Online or television teams in various sporting fields.
Work experience in the BBC’s production teams provide the opportunity to experience hands-on work as part of a production team.
That could be going on location and doing research or working alongside the production team to see how programmes at the BBC are made.
There are also some work opportunities to create digital content through creative writing.
BBC Work Experience in News and Journalism
BBC News work experience provides real-life insight into news and journalism at the BBC.
Responsibilities could include:
- Shadowing planning teams or reporters
- Understanding the methods used at the BBC to gather information for news stories
This on-the-job experience provides an understanding of the world of news and journalism in practice.
The type of work experience and programmes worked on vary by location. All BBC news work experience is open to those aged 18 years or over.
BBC Radio Work Experience
BBC Radio work experience offers a chance to experience all elements that go into producing Radio programmes offered by the BBC.
Typical role responsibilities on a radio work experience placement include:
- Playing a part in researching content for programmes
- Coming up with ideas for radio programmes segments
- Finding out how daily radio programmes are put together
- Supporting live broadcasts
The type of radio programme is dependent on location. For example, work experience opportunities at Radio 1 or the Asian Network are London-based only.
Business Support Work Experience
BBC work experience in business support covers areas such as:
- Digital platforms
The role responsibilities of work experience in business support are varied.
Learning and sharing ideas are key aspects of work experience in business support. Rising to the challenge and being proactive is also required when on work experience in this area.
What Are the Benefits of a BBC Work Experience Placement?
Television, radio, news and journalism are competitive industries to get into.
Having work experience at a world-renowned organisation such as the BBC is beneficial as getting into such industries without any prior experience is very difficult (although perhaps not impossible).
There are many benefits to gaining a BBC work placement:
Gaining Insider Knowledge
Work experience at the BBC provides the opportunity to gain an insight into how the BBC operates. It is a chance to find out first-hand what the role involves and how things actually work, such as what equipment is used on set or what research needs to be done when drafting a news story.
Work experience in any of the areas offered at the BBC enables you to develop new skills and enhance current ones.
- Working on the job requires good time management
- Being part of a team requires team working and communication skills
- Shadowing team members and helping solve day-to-day problems requires creativity and integrity
BBC work experience enables the development of these essential work-related skills that employers look for in applicants.
Providing New Challenges
BBC work experience provides the opportunity to:
- Experience a new working environment
- Take on new challenges
- Work with a new team of people to solve everyday problems
Working at the BBC is not always easy. It can be a time-critical environment where lots of people depend on your output. This can be stressful, or it can provide challenges that help you shine.
Work experience at the BBC is an opportunity to experience these challenges and see how you grow.
Placement opportunities at the BBC provide a way of building or developing a network.
Networking is important because it allows you to learn from others and find out about opportunities in other parts of the BBC that may not be externally advertised.
Plus, making a strong first impression on someone during your work experience will ensure they will remember you positively if you apply for a role later.
Networking begets networking. The more connections you form, the more people you will have second or third-degree links with (much like LinkedIn). You will then be able to approach these people later if they are connected to another opportunity/job role you are interested in or a skill you want to gain.
Overall, the key benefit of work experience is that, through giving you experience, connections and skills, it can lead to a job.
What Does the BBC Look For in Its Work Experience Candidates?
A BBC work experience role gives a taste of what working at the BBC is like. Given the nature of the BBC’s work, that means it is fast-paced and exciting.
Therefore, the company has certain traits it looks for in placement candidates.
The BBC looks for candidates with strong interpersonal skills who are willing to:
- Embrace the challenge of working in a fast-moving environment
- Be creative and enthusiastic
- Voice creative ideas where appropriate
Many of the BBC work placements require a degree of flexibility. This could be around being available to go on placement with two weeks’ notice or regarding the hours worked – not all roles follow the standard 9-5.
As already mentioned, the vast majority of placements are for those aged 18 years and over.
Candidates also must not already be working for the BBC and must not have completed work experience with the BBC in the past year.
What to Expect on a BBC Work Experience Placement
Most BBC work placements vary from three to 10 days long, depending on the department. There are a small number of work experience opportunities that last two weeks.
Work placements are often 9:30 to 17:30 but many also run outside these hours due to the nature of the department (for example, the news runs 24 hours a day).
All work experience at the BBC is unpaid. But travel expenses of up to £15 per day will be paid for the work experience days attended.
When Are Placements Advertised?
The BBC offers work experience throughout the year, but the placements are only advertised three times a year:
BBC work experience placements advertised in June run in June to October, those advertised in October run November to February and those advertised in December/January run March to June the next year.
BBC Work Experience Application Process
An application to a potential employer is often the first contact an employer has with a candidate. Therefore, any application made needs to be completed with due care and attention.
Applications for BBC work experience are made through their dedicated online recruitment system: Careers Hub.
Careers Hub enables candidates to create a career profile and apply for a work experience placement, as well as track the progress of their application.
Note: Candidates can only apply to one BBC work experience placement at a time.
As such, think about what the right placement for you would be (considering your current skills and experience and where you would like to grow) before making an application.
What Do the Application Statuses Mean?
As your work experience application is processed, its status will be updated on Careers Hub. There are two application status updates that candidates see on Careers Hub:
- Application submitted – This means that the BBC recruitment team acknowledge receipt of the work experience application
- In review – This means that the application is being considered for the BBC work experience placement applied for
All unsuccessful candidate applications will be notified by email.
It is worth noting that it can take up to three months to hear back on the outcome of an application, so continue searching for more roles and placements in the meantime.
In contrast, due to the fast-moving nature of the BBC’s work, successful candidates may only be given two weeks notice before the work experience starts. Therefore, you may need to turn down or postpone other offers.
Therefore, being flexible when it comes to work placement start dates is important. You need to consider this when making an application.
6 Key Tips for Applying to the BBC
If you are wondering, “How do I get work experience at the BBC?”, here are six tips to increase the chances of being successful with your BBC work experience application:
1. Block Out Time to Complete the Application
Do not rush the application. Ensure that enough time has been left to complete all parts of the application with proper care and consideration.
Also, write your application sections in another programme, such as Word or Notepad, in case your WiFi/internet connection drops and your web browser does not save your hard work.
2. Research Work Placement Opportunities and the BBC
There are many resources available to help candidates research and pick the right placement.
Key ones include:
The BBC website – Remember to read the placement descriptions carefully
YouTube – Watching others talk about their experience may give you additional insight into how to get the placement you want
Podcasts – The BBC has many podcasts of its own that you should browse to gain background information and evidence to illustrate your passion
Social media – Consider places like Twitter and LinkedIn to network with current or past work placement candidates
Use these resources to research the role and to build up an understanding of the BBC.
3. Answer the Questions Actually Asked in the Application
Properly read each of the questions. Ensure your answer addresses all parts of the question and that you are not actually answering a different question they did not ask.
Provide detail on and evidence of how something was achieved, rather than making a statement.
4. Ensure Skills and Interests Clearly Align With the Work Experience
BBC work experience work placement descriptions ask candidates to show an interest or skill in a particular area. Ensure that these skills or interests are clear to see through the answers provided in your application form.
This will ensure that an answer demonstrates how skills and interests align to work placement requirements.
5. Gain a Competitive Edge
Look to develop the skills the BBC looks for before applying.
Try volunteering at a local/internet radio station, starting or helping on a podcast, making YouTube videos, writing well-researched thinkpieces – there are many ways you can begin developing the skills and gaining the experience that the BBC wants.
These skills can then be shown on the application form through real-life examples.
6. Final Application Check
Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Check the application before submitting – you do not want a spelling mistake to glare out at you after pressing submit.
Check for spelling and grammar errors; try running the piece through a website like Grammarly.
Get someone to check over the application too, as a fresh pair of eyes can often spot those small errors and offer better ways to word something.
Bonus Tip: Remember to Submit the Application
Do not leave it just sitting there.
This is often a part that is overlooked by candidates. Make sure you actually submit your application for the BBC work experience placement.
If an application has been submitted correctly, the application status on Careers Hub will move to Application Submitted.
BBC work experience provides a taster of what working at the BBC is like. It is a way of getting some on-the-job work experience to help break into a competitive industry.
The working environment at the BBC is fast-paced. Work experience opportunities offer candidates the chance to experience this.
The key attributes required for a BBC work placement are:
- Willingness to learn
To have the best chance of securing a BBC work experience placement:
- Know when placements are advertised
- Pick the right placement based on your interest and skills
- Ensure that enough time is set aside to write a strong application
With these tips, soon you will be on day one of your taster of BBC life.