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GTC Supports Paths Into The Industry

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Careers in the media and creative industries show no signs of losing their appeal to young people but, with little or no 'on the job' television camera training available, choosing the right college course is vital.

Learning the theory behind how a job is done is one thing, but actually getting the chance to make programmes and work as part of a team will stand any keen cameraman or woman in good stead. Vocationally-based college courses offer both of these and are proving to be an extremely popular option.

For Amy O'Brien and Zac Bowen who are both in the second year of an HND in Creative Media Production at Stratford Upon Avon College, the course has given them a true insight into the industry and given them plenty of opportunities to learn from industry professionals.

They both attended this year's GTC (Guild of Television Cameramen) Awards to learn more about the industry.

Amy, 27, who started an engineering degree but changed courses to pursue a television career, said: "I was always told that I probably wouldn't get a job in TV because it is so competitive, but I wanted to go for it anyway and I am so glad I did. In our first year in college we worked on a live arts and culture show. My advice to anyone considering a career in TV would be to go for it but make sure you choose a course that is practically-based. You have to learn how to do the job and this is the best way. Getting some good, relevant work experience is also really important and proves that you are committed to following a career in TV."

Zac, who is 20, studied media at school and followed an A level course for a year that included media studies before embarking on the HND course. He said: "I never intended to go to university, I knew that for me the HND option was the best route because I wanted to make TV programmes. As well as learning about the actual industry from people who still work in it, I have also learned the importance of networking and making contacts.

"Studying for the HND has really made me look at how films and television programmes are made. Having the chance to really understand the importance of how light, sound and film all work together has been invaluable. I would always encourage any young people to consider TV as a career. You need to care about what you are doing and have real passion, ambition and enthusiasm for it, as well as not being scared to ask questions – that's the best way to learn."

The GTC supports both academic and practical paths into the industry, recognising that both have their place and that every individual has a different set of needs.

Through the annual Bill Vinten GTC University Awards, supported by the Television and Video Camera Craft Educational Trust, the GTC recognises the talents of up and coming camera technicians, with the prize winners earning valuable work experience roles with GTC members such as DoP Martin Hawkins and on programmes like BBC daily drama Doctors. The standard of the work submitted to the awards just gets better every year, indicating not only how healthy the education provision is becoming but also how hard students are working to prove their abilities.

Each year the Bill Vinten GTC University Award trophy is also awarded to the highest scoring university in the competition. In the first three years of the competition, the University of York, the University for the Creative Arts and Bournemouth University collected this award in recognition of the standard of teaching in camera craft skills at that establishment.

The student membership grade allows those in education access to all of the GTC resources such as workshops, publications, discounts and the world renowned members forum. Through this access student members can learn and develop their own skills by contact with working cameramen and women in all areas of the industry from studio and OB to TV drama and features.

For more details about student membership, please visit

This article is also available to read at BFV online here, page 30.

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