Many production assistants nowadays have a degree or HND in a subject such as media studies, but good IT skills, and experience and contacts in broadcasting, are more important than educational qualifications.
You could build up useful experience by getting involved in community or hospital radio or student films and projects.
The BBC offers taster days and work placements (for those aged 18+) at certain times of the year. You can get more information and register online through the BBC Website.
A driving licence may be required.
There are a few vacancies in television: national, regional, cable and satellite. Most jobs are in the South East of England, but there are sometimes jobs in Scottish cities. Entry is very competitive.
able to work under pressure to meet tight deadlines
good at communicating
resourceful and resilient
confident and assertive.
You should have:
a genuine interest in the television or film business
attention to detail
energy and stamina
good problem solving skills
good admin and IT skills.
Training is mainly on the job.
ScreenSkills provide lists of relevant courses on their website.
The BBC offers a 12-month Production Trainee Scheme. If you get a place, you work on four different placements on programmes across the UK. See the BBC Careers website for details. Check the websites of other television companies for similar schemes.
Channel 4 offer a 14-month Production Apprenticeship. See their 4Talent website for details.
The BBC Academy also have several courses on their site which may be relevant.
The National Film and Television School website also lists courses which may be appropriate.
You usually start in local news and current affairs programmes and go on to more expensive ones like dramas.
In big organisations you can seek promotion to senior PA, production co-ordinator or production manager.
You can also become a floor manager, vision mixer, researcher, or producer.
The number of job opportunities in broadcasting involving community languages, including Gaelic, Urdu and Punjabi, is increasing.
As well as applying for advertised jobs you can always use your networking skills and contact companies direct.
If you are aged 18 or over you may be interested in The Network. The Network is held each year alongside the TV Festival in Edinburgh. If selected you would attend for four free days of masterclasses and workshops which will provide you with the skills, knowledge and contacts to start a career in TV. You can usually apply in early spring.
Trainee Finder is ScreenSkills flagship new entrant programme which offers paid work placements across a range of roles in film and TV. Applications are currently closed for the 2024-25 programme. Recruitment will usually begin around September of the year before placement. Find out more and apply online by visiting the Film Trainee Finder website.