With a global reputation for impartiality, the BBC is the world’s largest broadcasting corporation. Since its first transmissions in 1922, the Beeb has expanded into a leading media brand producing everything from news to feature films.
- The name to have on your CV
- Working with the best in the business
- Good salary
- Lots of different roles
- Lack of job security due to cutbacks
- Very competitive
Since its first broadcasts were transmitted from a studio on London’s Strand, in 1922, the BBC has expanded to become the world’s largest broadcasting corporation and a leading global media brand. The television age in the UK began with the BBC’s broadcast of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. And by 1938, it was delivering foreign language services with the launch of the Arabic Service. Although neutrality is the Beeb’s guiding principle, the organisation has come under fire in the past: in 1940, Winston Churchill famously called it, “The enemy within the gates”.
The organisation stretches out to numerous television channels, radio networks, magazines and new media ventures. In some parts of the world, the BBC World Service – actually run by part of the Foreign Office – is the only available source of reliable news. In the UK the BBC is funded by a licence fee which every household in the country that watches or records live TV, whether on a TV, laptop, tablet or mobile phone, must pay an annual fee for. The fee is set by the government and is approved by parliament every year.
Content is sub-divided into four key areas: future media and technology (BBC Online), vision (programming ranging from drama and documentary, to films and comedy), audio, and journalism. BBC News is the world’s largest broadcast news operation, with more than 2,000 journalists and 48 international bureaux under its wing. Stretching from local to national to international news, the organisation prides itself on impartiality and reliability.
Established under a Royal Charter, the BBC’s editorial independence is explicitly recognised. The most recent charter which came into effect, in January 2007, replaced the old Board of Governors – an institution often charged with criticisms of possessing a political agenda – with the BBC Trust. The remit of the new body was to involve the BBC’s audience more critically in developing the station’s strategy. This is just one episode in a series of developments that the BBC is going through at this moment in time. Many of its London operations have been relocated to other areas of the UK, particulary the new studios in Salford Quays.
The BBC’s impartial journalism and top quality programming make it a mecca for anyone wanting to forge a career in the world of broadcasting. Although the competition is fierce, the Beeb’s graduate schemes provide those with little professional experience a chance to get their foot in the British institution’s door. The BBC offers trainee schemes in five fields: Production, Journalism, Digital Media, Business and Design. It’s worth noting that none of these schemes guarantee you a job with the BBC at the end, but you will be given the opportunity to compete for a full time job. Furthermore, the experience, training and mentoring you will receive throughout will stand you in good stead in your chosen area.
Production Trainee Scheme
The BBC’s 18 month production scheme covers TV, radio and online. Five stages stand between applicants and a coveted place on the programme: an online application form, an audio application piece, a verbal reasoning test, an ordering exercise and a verbal or audio pitch. The application is pretty standard fare; each question has a 300 word limit, so keep it brief and use the space to show off your creativity and quirks in order to stand out from the crowd.
Should you be successful you’ll start the scheme in September and receive a salary of £23,000. You’ll have a mentor in the form of a senior BBC Manager, and will get to work on four different placements on programmes across the UK. In the past these have included The Thick of It, CBBC, The One Show, Silent Witness, Radio 4 Documentaries, Coast and Dragons' Den amongst others.
Journalism Trainee Scheme
For the budding journalists amongst you, the Beeb’s 12 month journalism scheme starts in early March and provides training and experience as well as a salary of £19,473 (£23,718 in London). You’ll be mentored by a senior BBC journalist throughout the duration. To get the ball rolling, you will need to complete an application form consisting of six questions, each of which requires a one word response. These are designed to assess your characteristics and whether you are a good match for the scheme. Next on the agenda are questions assessing your motivation for applying, relevant experience, and editorial judgement. Following this there’s a 45 minute online job role assessment comprising verbal reasoning and a personality questionnaire.
Successfully shortlisted candidates will be invited to an assessment day consisting of four parts: a competency based interview, group exercise, voice and writing test, and a general knowledge quiz. Expect to be confronted with activities varying from a simulated news bulletin to reporting stories for different audiences. Make sure you’ve brushed up on your current affairs and sport as the general knowledge section will test you on all things news worthy.
Business Trainee Scheme
Are you an entrepreneur? Yes? Then why not try the Beeb’s business scheme located in White City, London, and regional sites like Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast. Trainees earn £23,000 during the course of the 18 month scheme whilst gaining experience in the fields of Planning & Business Analysis, Genre Commissioning Operations & Business Affairs, Commissioning Management, and Production Operations. Your initial obstacle comes in the shape of an online test, with a 300 word limit for each question. After the online application you will be asked to complete a numerical reasoning test, followed by a verbal reasoning test. The newest of the BBC’s graduate schemes, the business trainee scheme currently takes on 8 people.
Digital Media Trainee Scheme
This scheme covers the technology side of the BBC, whose projects include BBC iPlayer, the BBC news, sport and weather site, apps and the Red Button, amongst others. The scheme lasts two years, with rotations every six months, so you’ll get to experience four different areas.
You will be based in either London or Salford for the duration and will receive a salary of £25,000 in your first year, rising in the second year. It’s aimed at developers and candidates need a 2:1 in a relevant degree to apply. The application process involves an online application, a brief coding exercise and an assessment day.
Design Trainee Scheme
The design trainee scheme starts every September, runs for 12 months and offers £23,000. Training and work placements will be based all over the country, so you will move throughout the UK. You have to apply to one of the four areas: hair and make-up, costume, art or interactive. Art department, costume and make-up trainees should expect to complete at least two placements outside London. However, interactive design trainees will be based in the City. Before beginning the application process, all applicants must have a portfolio in their chosen area. This should be uploaded and sent to the recruiters, along with a copy of your CV.
BBC Graduate Recruitment Info
Recruitment BBC HR Direct
PO Box 1133
Belfast BT1 9GP
No. of employees: 23,000
Trainee schemes: Between £19,473 and £25,000
BBC International Unit
BBC Studios and Post Production
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UK Head Office:
BBC Centre House
London W12 7SB
Tel: +44 (0) 020 8743 8000