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Runner, broadcasting/film/video: Entry requirements

The industry looks favourably on those with experience and contacts, rather than qualifications.

There are no specific educational requirements for becoming a runner. However, a relevant HND, degree or postgraduate qualification, particularly one with a practical focus, may increase your chances of success as this can equip you with an understanding of the industry, practical skills, a work experience placement and useful contacts.

Relevant courses include:
* television/film/media/radio production;
* post production;
* media and broadcasting skills;
* multimedia;
* drama and theatre.

Before pursuing a higher education qualification, speak to people in the industry about whether it will improve your chances of success. Also, when researching qualifications, be inclined to select a course that uses industry-standard equipment and is industry-accredited. Establish where previous graduates have gained employment and what sort of links the education provider has with the industry. If you are already in higher education, ask at your careers service for up-to-date employer and industry information, along with details of media fairs and events.

Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:
* excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
* ability to network with a wide range of people (actors, directors, other departments, caterers, etc.);
* physical stamina and resilience;
* initiative and the ability to problem solve;
* flexibility and the ability to think on your feet;
* good research skills;
* excellent time management and organisational skills;
* an understanding of the industry;
* team working skills;
* enthusiasm and motivation;
* ability to remain calm under pressure;
* a proactive disposition.

You will usually need a full, clean driving licence and your own transport. A current first aid certificate and a qualification in health and safety can give you the edge over other candidates.

The broadcasting/film industry is particularly competitive. To stand out from other candidates and get noticed by the right people, you will need an impressive CV that demonstrates extensive, strategic and striking work experience
If you are taking a degree course that is not directly relevant, you should seize opportunities at university, for example on campus newspapers, radio or TV stations.
If you are interested in the technical side, you can get involved with sound or lighting for university stage productions and concerts.
Outside university, you could work on hospital and community radio stations, for local and specialist newspapers, or as an usher on studio recordings of entertainment shows.

Develop a portfolio, showreel or soundreel of your work (e.g., film shorts, photographs, radio recordings, newspaper articles) that you can send to companies to illustrate your talent.

Keeping up to date with changes in technology, finding out what is in pre-production and production, and getting hold of in-house newsletters will put you ahead of the game, as will attending workshops and talks by people in the industry.

Entering competitions and showcasing your material at festivals and other events are also ways to get yourself noticed. For example, submitting a short film to the BBC Film Network will guarantee your work is viewed, with the possibility of being published and showcased on the BBC's website.

You may find that you have to do a significant amount of unpaid work experience to get into the industry. Runner positions are rarely advertised as they tend to go to people known through their work experience networking is an essential skill to develop. And competition for work experience is as fierce as for jobs! (The BBC Work Experience scheme receives around 200 enquiries and applications every day just for short-term, unpaid work experience placements.)

Channel 4 Television, ITV Jobs and BSkyB (British Sky Broadcasting Group) also offer work experience placements and Endemol UK offer internships. Take your skills-based CV to as many production companies and post-production houses as you can. It is important to make a good first impression and be remembered, so try to go in person to hand in your CV. It can also be useful to follow this up with a phone call at a later date.

Minimum wage legislation makes unpaid work experience a grey area, but if you are working solely in order to gain skills, it is legal for you to work unpaid. Skillset have published Guidelines for Work Experience Placements in the TV Industry . These are aimed at employers, but contain useful information that will help you understand your rights.

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against candidates on the grounds of age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation or religious faith.

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