BA (Hons) Communications and Media student Marcus Reay has just completed his placement year, where he had the opportunity to work with 3 different organisations. He shares his story…

“I have finished my placement year with a new-found enjoyment and passion for my course and the media industry.”

  I got off to a rocky start with my placement year.  A long and aggravating second year at university left me burnt out from education after going at it non-stop. I felt deflated about my future in the media industry. I could not, for the life of me, find anything that I was passionate about.  On top of that, employers just didn’t seem interested in me. I felt like all hope was lost until as luck would have it, I stumbled upon 3 work experience opportunities. They all offered me new and exciting paths that would benefit me for the year to come, as well as my outlook on the media industry in general.

   My first placement was working as a runner/production assistant for an independent film company, Odelay Films. This was exactly what I had wanted from the very beginning, a chance to work in the film industry and make some movies! I was excited about the possibility of assisting production on set and helping out pre-production at their home office in Oxford Circus, London. I would spend most of my days and nights getting to know people around set whether that was the director, the actors, camera crew, food crew, set designers, writers, the list goes on and on. Everyone was extremely happy to talk to me about their specific field of work and how it contributed to the finished piece.

   Next up, I started working as a teacher’s assistant at a secondary school in the media department. At the beginning, this experience was quite surreal for me as I was walking round the school that I had attended as a student 2 years earlier, but this time as a member of staff. I was assisting years 11-13 and had the responsibility of demonstrating how to use important programs such as Photoshop or Final Cut Pro for their end of year coursework. I really enjoyed the feeling of making a difference in the students’ education, as well as helping the individuals who were growing a real passion for the media industry.

Marcus Reay

   My third placement took place in Costa Rica. I loved working in London for my first work opportunity, but I was really excited to get a sense of what it would be like to work abroad. I was employed as a Field Communications intern for an environmental research group called Frontier. This organisation had set ups all around the world, with the goal of assisting the environment but also collecting data on animal habitats in specific areas. I was based in Carate, along the south coast of Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula. My job was to assist the researchers whilst documenting their activities with the aim to create a larger online presence for the organisation. I loved my work with Frontier as I really felt like I was giving back to the environment and making a difference. My highlight of that experience has to be the completion of a short documentary piece that went alongside the opening of Carate’s first sustainable school. I helped with the interviews of very influential people in the area, as well as the editing and completion of the documentary.

   Overall, I have finished my placement year with a new-found enjoyment and passion for my course and the media industry. Without my placement year, I would not have had the time to think about what really interests me within the media industry and what paths I may want to follow in the future.