Last month, NEP UK opened its doors to students, showcasing the world of outside broadcast with experts from across the industry offering career advice.

Nep open day filming 1

Panel speaking during the NEP UK open day

The purpose of the open day was to attract new talent and break down the barriers for entry into the industry. 

Hosting students from across the region at its headquarters in Bracknell, England, NEP UK showcased job opportunities, new technologies and industry partnerships to highlight the career potential in the broadcast sector.

A line-up of experts from across the industry, with varying years of experience and points of entry, offered insight and advice, and outside broadcast trucks were open for inspection while kit was set up for filming a live football game for hands-on experience.

The rapid pace of change and adoption of new technology, from cloud-based tools to the advent of IP, has had a profound effect on the creation and delivery of content. 

As such, a challenge faced by the industry is where the next generation of suitably qualified engineers and operators will come from, explains NEP UK President Steve Jenkins during the open day.

“I’m looking for people with talent and not just great qualifications” - Steve Jenkins

Jenkins explained the purpose of the day: “Creating awareness of our industry, promoting it to increase more interest for students and opening up the doors for opportunities and to give the opportunity to learn.”

New technologies including the IP, 4K, Dolby Atmos, high-dynamic range (HDR) and high definition (HD) has changed the broadcasting environment and the requisite skillset for employees across industry as well as creating new opportunities. 

NEP UK has recruited half of its new staff for 2017 through traineeships and entry level opportunities Jenkins explained. He said: “The channels which people are coming to our industry are from a broader spectrum.

“We require that talent, to keep up with that technology and keep up with our clients needs and what our clients are delivering to the consumer and to make it happen.”

Nep broadcasting student day

Creative Broadcast Solutions Founder and Technical Producer Chris Bretnall spoke about the increased refresh rate of broadcast technology. He said: “In the very early days it was analogue, then digital, then wide screen, terrestrial delivery to satellite.

“These technologies were 4 to 8 years to take off and progress but now every week there is a new capture, delivery, distribution or platform technology and I can’t keep up with it anymore.”

Bretnall, who was the technical producer for the 4K cinema screening of War Horse from London’s National Theatre, said grasping the new technology faster and more efficiently is the best way to progress in the industry and make a name for yourself.

He said: “With the democratisation of production and lack of emphasis on linear TV and the rise of many channels across platforms there is the possibility to do so many roles in broadcasting.”

Sky Production Services Director Darren Long said the broadcaster is ”looking for people who innovative and love looking at technology and getting immersed in it”.

He said: “We are looking at VR, AR, 3D and how we deliver that content to our customers in the home.

“The only skillsets you need going forward are an open mind and an open mind that is like a sponge that can take that technology and see how you can apply it.”

Long explained the application of great ideas and formalising solutions across the technology is where success lies.

Tom Giles, Technical Broadcast Manager, All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) said: “There are so many roles that make up a broadcaster you need passion and drive for personal development and that is all you need to get into the industry.”

”It’s an incredible time to be working in the industry. I have never seen the industry so dynamic and the skillsets are vast” - Tom Giles

Giles detailed the scale of change, from higher frame rates to the introduction of IP and new distribution models, mixed with the consumption and appetite of consumers, all of which is part of the challenge faced by broadcasters.

He said: “It’s an incredible time to be working in the industry. I have never seen the industry so dynamic and the skillsets are vast.

“It is an exciting time to join the industry and as a consequence you will change as the industry changes; it’s almost impossible to predict the future.”

Discussing the opportunities, Jenkins said that with changing job responsibilities there is an expectation of transferable skills, and that NEP looks for people with a diverse skillset.

The panel concurred the most important offering is enthusiasm, tenacity and a passion for broadcasting.

Jenkins added: “I’m looking for people with talent and not just great qualifications.”