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  • Writer's pictureDini Habib

Breaking into the Media Industry Without a Degree: Advice for starting your career!

With the rise in streaming services and content being central to the new working world, entering the media sector seems like a super relevant and exciting career for many people. But how do you get started if you are looking to change careers or if you haven’t studied for a relevant degree? 


Not to worry, it's entirely possible and with inclusive employers like UKTV - it’s something they actively support.  

This guide is tailored for those who haven't previously considered a career in media due to the misconception that it's out of reach without a relevant degree or having connections in the industry.  


Here, we'll explore the types of roles available that aren't degree-dependent and shed light on what UKTV is specifically doing to make the media industry more accessible than ever before.  


What are the different routes into a media career?

The media industry is vast, encompassing everything from content creation to marketing, sales, digital and technical support. Many roles within this sector value skill, creativity, and practical experience over formal further education. Positions such as content writers, production assistants, digital marketers, and sales coordinators often prioritise a candidate's transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving and adaptability. 


Apprenticeships can be a great alternative way to gain valuable on-the-job experience while earning and learning at the same time.  


“I always knew that I wanted to work in TV and media. I never knew in which department or even where to start to try and find a job in the industry, but one thing I did know is that I didn’t fancy going to uni! Doing an apprenticeship was the perfect alternative for me! I joined UKTV 4 years ago as an Apprentice Team Assistant and on completion of my apprenticeship, I’ve had two other roles within the company, including my current role as a Publicist here. Whilst I may not have a degree, I’ve had 4 years of hands-on experience in the industry, with fantastic progression opportunities and I’ve also received a qualification off the back of my apprenticeship. And even better, no student debt! So many of my colleagues and peers have said to me that in hindsight they wish they did an apprenticeship, and I personally couldn’t recommend it enough as your first step into the industry” Jasmine Brewer, Publicist, UKTV.  

UKTV also runs its All Voices Initiative which helps producers find staff from under-represented groups. In partnership with Film London’s Equal Access Network and Talented People, the scheme aims to match those from under-represented groups with work opportunities on UKTV productions. Experienced at talent searches and with comprehensive databases, their partners help producers fill roles on productions with suitable, available candidates from runners to directors, nationwide. The initiative has proven to be a great way to start out or return to a career in the TV industry.  


Committing to Diversity and Inclusion 

UKTV is at the forefront of championing diversity and inclusion within the media industry – and their culture reflects this. Their initiatives aim to remove barriers for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds and those without formal qualifications. UKTV's diversity and inclusion programmes focus on mutual mentorship, and training that equip colleagues with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in their roles. These efforts underpin the importance of fostering a diverse talent pool that reflects the voices and perspectives of their audiences. 


"We believe in the power of diversity to drive creativity and innovation. Our recruitment process is designed to open doors for everyone, irrespective of their educational background, and to ensure that every talent gets a chance to shine," Graham, Head of Talent Acquisition, UKTV. 

Image is a quote from Graham Major, Head of Talent Acquisition from UKTV. The quote reads: We believe in the power of diversity to drive creativity and innovation. Our recruitment process is designed to open doors for everyone, irrespective of their educational background, and to ensure that every talent gets a chance to shine.


Tips for Breaking into Media Without a Degree 

Graham adds, "The five key pieces of advice I would give anyone looking to break into the industry without a media-related qualification are:

1. Build Your Portfolio:

Create a robust portfolio showcasing your work, whether it's blog posts, social media campaigns, video projects, or any relevant media content – if you’re creative, be creative in how you can show us.  

2. Leverage Work Experience and entry-level schemes:

Gain practical experience through work placements as these opportunities can be invaluable for networking and learning on the job. There are so many great entry-level schemes out there that can help connect you with companies who want to open up their talent pools. Doing some research into these (a simple google search on entry level schemes in media/ TV) will generate a lot of leads.  

3. Network Relentlessly:

Attend industry events, join online forums, and connect with professionals on LinkedIn. Networking can often lead to opportunities that aren't advertised. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and showcases all of your talents and interests. 

4. Continuously Learn:

In an industry that is moving so quickly, its crucial to keep your finger on the pulse with what’s going on. Take advantage of online courses, workshops, and webinars to enhance your skills and stay updated with industry trends.  

5. Demonstrate your passion

When you’re starting, we don’t expect you to have lots of experience or connections. What we want to see is how passionate you are about the industry as well as your curiosity and desire to contribute and collaborate. Doing all of the above will stand you in good stead for finding your first role in media. 


“Media is one of the most dynamic and future-focused industries out there. Every day what we create reaches millions of people and the opportunity to be part of that is exciting and should be for everyone,” said Graham, whose team have seen huge successes over the past few years in increasing opportunities at UKTV for diverse and traditionally underrepresented communities. 


Not having a degree isn’t a blocker at UKTV, they offer many opportunities to be creative, develop, and grow within the company. By focusing on your unique skills and talents, building your network, and finding interesting ways to show your passion for working in the space, early career professionals can carve out a successful career in media.  

 Why not create your profile and get matched to exciting roles at UKTV today!

Image is a button that reads: Find my dream role at UKTV


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