Creativity Works helped me break into the media industry

Twenty-four-year-old Sania Qaisar from London explains how Media Trust’s Creativity Works training programme gave her the confidence to go after a career in the media and creative industry and unexpectedly led her to her first job in radio.

This time two years ago, I was lost in more ways than one. I had just graduated and all I wanted was to kick start my job search on the outside world. The reality was so much harder than I expected.

I’ve been brought up to be a hard worker, especially coming from immigrant parents who had built a life for themselves from nothing. I prepared myself for the world of work and managed to get myself a job as a Finance Assistant but then realised that it wasn’t fulfilling me.

A career in the media industry

The truth was that I’d always wanted a career in the media, but my parents wanted me to “have a backup”. They were initially against me having a career in media, which is a common theme in my culture, but they did eventually accept that I needed to do something that fulfilled me.

So I started to apply for roles but found it so, so difficult. I had no guidance from anyone and didn’t know anyone in my network who was in the industry.

By chance I heard about Media Trust’s Creativity Works Programme. A friend who’d completed it told me about the essential multi-media skills she had gained, and I thought “this is exactly what I need at this moment.”

I remember the first day looking around the room and I felt myself smiling for the first time in a long time

This is where I was meant to be

I remember the first day looking around the room and I felt myself smiling for the first time in a long time as I was in a programme that I could really learn from. We heard about all the different media and creative workshops and skills training we would be doing.

Each week we’d focus on a different theme related to the media industry. We spent time at companies like Snapchat, AdamandEveDDB, Facebook to name a few.

A real stand out moment for me was when we spent a week at Google HQ and we were challenged with marketing YouTube’s music app. I was thinking, “This is my task and I’m going to win it!” And what do you know? I did.

I began to realise that I had the right skills for this industry but just never knew how to apply them. And It wasn’t just my work skills that benefitted from this training but also the opportunity to develop my confidence in these skills as well.

Exploring radio

My Media Trust Programme Leader also had a show on BBC Radio London called “The Scene”. I took it upon myself to research and propose some key guests with questions to go with them during one of the weeks. She then asked me to come along and help even though I didn’t really think radio was my thing. I was keen to grab every opportunity.

I had not expected to find radio so interesting. But more importantly, I didn’t expect to be so good at it. When I was questioning whether this was the right path for me, I had the support of my programme leader who helped me to see the opportunity and where it could take me. That is another great benefit that this programme gives – support and career wisdom too.

I’ve landed my first paid role as an Assistant Producer at BBC Radio London

From then on, I got myself proper work experience at the BBC and now I’ve landed my first paid role as an Assistant Producer at BBC Radio London and have also gained producer credits as well.

I learnt how to network, communicate and most importantly gained the confidence to apply my skills in a career which enabled me to jump from a dream to a reality.

Growing up there were many cultural barriers, as parents often wanted their children to be ‘doctors’, ‘teachers’, ‘lawyers’ etc. I hardly ever saw people like me on the TV and never had any family members in the industry. A career in media never seemed realistic for people like me.

It’s given me the confidence to push myself further regardless of my race, sexuality, colour or financial circumstances.

Media Trust gives people an opportunity to work out their own creative journey. There are so many things I could say about what the Creativity Works programme has given me, not only as a Pakistani woman, but as somebody who would never have had the chance to do things like this before. It’s given me the confidence to push myself further regardless of my race, sexuality, colour or financial circumstances.

I’m no longer lost and I have to thank Media Trust for that push. Every young person should get the opportunity to live out their dreams, like I’m now living out mine.

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