The art of networking is a skill that needs rehearsal and practice. It does not come naturally to most of us, but is one of those ‘soft’ skills that really make a difference to our students’ employability at Birmingham City University. You can read about that collaborative development in our chapter, ‘Media Industries Beyond the Curriculum: Motivating Blended Professionalism for Enhanced Student Engagement and Employability’ (with Jamie Morris and Amie Hession) in Claus Nygaard et. al. (eds.), 2013. Student Engagement: Identity, Motivation and Community. Faringdon: Libri Publishing. 165-184.
Into the Future represents a student-driven, designed and organised networking event which featured student presentations and keynote discussion surrounding the future of the media. While student presentations featured their own media projections and ambitions within the industry, our invited industry experts offered their predictions for future developments in their respective media sectors.
Phil Riley, Head of Orion Media and recent Arqiva award winner, starred as one of the keynotes for our event.
Riley offered his insights to our students around the future of radio, highlighting for those with aspirations of radio presenting, “it’s no good simply being a voice on a stick!” Instead he raised the importance of being good at things other than the radio as key for the development of the radio industry because “Playing records is not enough!”
Setting the challenge for Birmingham School of Media students to extend their game plan to include a range of media expertise, Riley pinpoints an industry shift in which “The range of skillsets that we need is rapidly expanding”, and as such, warns against students restricting themselves uniquely to radio production skills alone.
This advice was a common theme of the day, with the ability to multi-skill and operate cross-media being a recurrent advice topic for our aspiring media professionals. Acting on the advice from our close industry networks, our BA (Hons) Media and Communication offers the opportunity to do just that and, through a process of cross-media practice, students are encouraged to produce work which builds upon and combines their creative media talent in distinct areas of production.
|Sophie Lucken Presents: Music Industries Creative|
The Into the Future event offered our students the opportunity to position themselves as creative professionals and to present themselves as the future creative media thinkers currently being demanded by the media industry.
|Hardeep Dhadda Presents: Radio Professional Expertise|
With many students opting to present their dissertation ideas for their final year as a showcase of their aptitude for challenging thought, these were frequently aligned with their preferred production areas of choice, adding further cement to their position as creative media thinkers, and not just craft workers.
As a course that embeds work experience and placement activity from the moment our students arrive, the BA (Hons) Media and Communication course at the Birmingham School of Media prepares our students for a career in which they are expected to work cross-media, through which we nurture the value of collaboration, the art of networking and the practice of professional self-branding. This makes for some exciting opportunities for our students, which they largely create for themselves as they are empowered to seek out contacts and networks in their own specialist areas of interest.
Selina Brown, CEO Creative High
In addition to advise from industry professionals, students were also offered ongoing career breakthrough advice by our in-house media careers expert, Caroline Thorley. She highlighted the wide range of careers advice and support available. Furthermore, as second year students, they were also fortunate to receive bespoke guidance on future degree level study options in creative entrepreneurship by our resident Cultural Entrepreneur expert, Annette Naudin.
The Into the Future event was a student-led and organised event, which featured as a part of the Birmingham Made Me 2014 programme of events.
For further activity from the day, check out the student managed Twitter account: @_IntoTheFuture