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NEP UK Student Open Day 2017 - Giving Broadcast a Brighter Future

Bracknell, UK

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October 28, 2017

The future of broadcasting lies in the hands of today’s young talent. It is the responsibility of the industry to nurture, train and develop this pool of future broadcasters, and this is what NEP UK firmly believes.

NEP UK has, for a long time, been a leading provider of broadcast services, with a team of experts working on world famous events, such as Wimbledon, the Olympics and Premiere League football. To future proof the success of the company and continue to deliver high quality services, NEP UK understands it can not only look at technology but at the people behind, powering it and making the magic happen.

This was the main message at NEP UK’s third annual Student Open Day.

Attending students ranged from 15-year-old school pupils to university leavers, and the day was filled with various talks and panel discussions from industry leaders including BBC, Sky, ITV and BT Sport. There was also a chance to get hands on with lots of crucial broadcast kit. 

In his opening remarks, Steve Jenkins’, President NEP UK & Ireland, discussed how NEP UK wanted to raise awareness of the broadcast industry. The company wanted to provide the future talent with an opportunity to openly ask questions to experienced and seasoned professionals, plus get a taster of what working in the industry is really like. 

Each session highlighted the importance of how having a passion and love for broadcast is key to a successful career and what will drive the industry forward, and this was very much the theme for the rest of the day.

Climbing the broadcast ladder
The first session of the day saw Darren Long, Director of Sky Professional Services, talk about his experience of climbing the broadcast career ladder. He was later joined by Chris Bretnal, Founder of Creative Broadcast Solutions, Tom Giles, Technical Broadcast Manager at All England Lawn Tennis Club, Anna Ward, Head of Production for Premier League Productions and NEP UK’s Steve Jenkins, to share their thoughts on what they look for when hiring new talent.

The key personality traits each panellist was truly looking for in a candidate was keenness, passionate, a can do attitude and absolute curiosity for the industry. It was also discussed how a sense of ‘team spirit’ is crucial to anyone wanting to work in Outside Broadcasting (OB) due to the ‘on the road’ nature. 

Working at Wimbledon
The All England Lawn and Tennis Club hosted a session on what it takes to successfully broadcast the world’s most watched tennis event, The Championships, Wimbledon. Paul Davies, Head of Broadcast, Bethan Evans, Broadcast Manager and returning to the stage, Tom Giles discussed in detail the planning, strategy and technology used to broadcast all games from the famous Centre Court and No.1 Court, plus all the action surrounding The Championships. 

NEP UK’s young talent
The ‘Pathways Panel’ saw NEP UK and Royal Television Society’s Young Technologist of the Year, Kathleen Grey join the discussion via video uplink from Poland. The panel also consisted of Anna Patching, Sound Engineer - OBStv, Katie-Jayne Mills, Vision Engineer - NEP UK, Paul Halliwell, Project Logistics Manager - NEP UK and James Starling, Guarantee Broadcast Engineer, NEP UK to talk about their career journeys in broadcast. Again cementing the key to succeeding is the passion for the job, sighting that whilst a lot is asked of them there is nothing better than delivering a successful project – and sometimes that means working against all odds. The crew becomes family, and the places the job takes them are all massive perks of the job.

Sharing wisdom
The last panel of the day saw industry veterans take the stage to share experience and wisdom with the audience of budding engineers. Roger Pearce, Technical Director, ITV Sport Productions, Andy Beale, Chief Engineer, BT Sport, Rob Newton, CTO, NEP UK, Clare Poppelwell, Editor: Ceremonial Events, BBC and Brian Clark, Major Projects, NEP UK discussed amongst themselves, and to the audience, the crucial attributes for succeeding in this industry. ‘Passion’ was again discussed as fundamental to succeeding alongside being able to sell and consistently challenging yourself. 

Trucking on…
Outside the panel sessions, each student was given the opportunity to see inside one of NEP UK flagship double extender UHD trucks, Equinox. Whilst taking a tour of the truck, students could hear from NEP UK engineers about the day-to-day workings of the truck at high profile events such as the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot.

NEP UK’s Student Open Day is just one of the many efforts that is being taken to entice young and upcoming talent to the industry. Launched earlier this year, in conjunction with leading universities such as Solent, Ravensboune, Surrey and Farnborough, NEP UK opened up an apprenticeship scheme, aimed at educating entry-level engineers in the wide range of disciplines required for a career in broadcast services.

To reflect Steve Jenkins’ opening remarks, for the broadcast industry to continue to thrive, companies need to not only invest in new talent, but also inform them these careers in broadcast exist. We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better event next year – leading to a brighter future for broadcast.

About NEP

For over 30 years, NEP has been a worldwide outsourced technical production partner supporting premier content producers of live sports, entertainment, music and corporate events. Our services include remote production, studio production, audio visual solutions, host broadcast support, premium playout, post production and innovative software-based media management solutions. NEP’s 3,000+ employees are driven by a passion for superior service and a focus on technical innovation. Together, we have supported productions in over 85 countries on all seven continents.

NEP is headquartered in the United States and has offices in 24 countries.

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