Interviews – Media – Rob Corney

Rob Corney, 22, works as a graduate management trainee at Carlton Television.

What does your job involve?
I’m on an eighteen-month contract and I spend three months in each department, which is spent with various departments across the company.

Which departments are they?
We aren’t actually given a set plan because the media is such a fast-moving industry. The people in charge of the scheme know where they want us but because of the pace of change, it wouldn’t make sense to create a detailed schedule for an eighteen-month period. I do know that I will be placed in Broadcasting, Production, Sales, Interactive (web sites) and Marketing but which department I will be in within those broad areas, I don’t know.

What have you done so far?
I am at my first department at the moment; Regional and Public Affairs.

What does that involve?
It’s primarily regional programming and affairs within the public sphere, such as Parliamentary receptions, launches, etc.

From the regional aspect, there are ITC regulations which say that all broadcasters have to fulfil a certain amount of regional airtime and Carlton takes regional franchises very seriously. It tries to adjust to the needs of each individual region, and is very successful.

For public affairs, I have worked on a party for the last ever Morse, ‘Britain At War in Colour’ and the department were busy with the Parliamentary receptions in Brighton when I first joined.

Is this the company line?
It is the company line, but it is actually true. You can see it from this big on-air campaign we’ve done recently for London’s homeless. We screened “The Wrong Kind of Rainbow” at 7.30, peak time, a time which would normally be reserved for programmes with large audience-ratings, such as ‘Coronation Street’. I think it actually says a lot about the company when I’m able to give the company line and genuinely mean it.

What do you think you’ll be doing next?
RC: I’ll be working for Carlton Interactive, the internet sector of Carlton. They make Carlton.com, Carlton.co.uk and Popcorn.co.uk which are all entertainment sites.

Does it bother you, not knowing which department you’ll be going to next?
No, I understand the reasons behind it. Some people would say that it might be good to receive a schedule which details exactly what you will be doing for the eighteen months, but if you think like that, media might not be the right industry. I think that not knowing the precise details helps to keep the scheme fresh. I’ve been told that I can move around a lot. I could be based in Plymouth for three months or Nottingham or Birmingham, or basically anywhere that we’ve got a regional franchise, but I’m based predominantly in London.

Is that because it’s Carlton’s primary catchment area?
The head offices are in London. Carlton Interactive and Communications are based down here, although our only studios are the old Central studios up in Nottingham. It’s certainly not fair to say that London is the primary catchment area for the scheme as we were recruited from Universities as far apart as Durham and Exeter.

Overall, would you say that it was a good scheme?
I think it’s a great scheme. It gives you a really good feel for the whole company, which is the main reason for doing it. You know, you learn so much more about the company than you would do working in a specific job role in a specific department. Three months is about the right length of time too as it gives you the chance to fully experience the department as a team member.

Are there any particularly good/bad departments?
I am unaware of anybody that’s had a really bad time, but there are always going to be departments which have more going on at any one time an which suit certain people more than others.

At which level are you going in?
Hopefully some form of management.

How many people do they take on each year?
Well, before this year they’ve only ever taken on two, but they took thirteen on this year. The sudden change could have something to do with the move towards one ITV company. There’s lots and lots of talk in the trade press about a consolidated ITV and any company that’s sitting on its laurels now is just going to get swallowed up.

Where did you graduate from and what qualification did you attain?
I graduated from the College of St. Hild and St. Bede at Durham University with a 2.1 in English Literature.

How many hours do you work?
It varies from department to department but contracted hours are 9.30-6.00

What does an average day involve?
At the moment there isn’t really such a thing as an average day. On a launch day, I would often come in at nine-thirty, but then go across to the venue midday to start setting up for it, then the event would kick off at seven o’clock, say, and I might get home midnight, one o’clock in the morning, and then go straight back to work at 9:30 the next morning. But days that I spend in the office are much more regulated to a 6.00 finish.

Which achievement have you been most proud of?
It’s been great to work on a website for Carlton’s homeless campaign www.carlton.com/homelesscampaign, because it gives me the opportunity to work with lots of different departments from Production to Interactive. It was also a chance for me to sink my teeth into my own project, from generating ideas to writing the copy, to getting the pages up on time, it was good to have something which I was in charge of.

What advice would you give to graduates looking to find employment in this industry?
One of the biggest problems is the lack of good advice from University Career Advice Services. It’s very beneficial to get relevant experience before applying, and to keep all of the work that you have done prior to application, so that you can show it to potential employers. Above all, just keep trying, once you’re in it’s a great industry to work in.

What skills do you need for this job?
You need to have good qualifications, be personable, outgoing, and able to work as part of a team. Is there much job security?

It really depends on what area you choose to work in. As I said before, the media is very fast-moving so it’s not unusual for there to be a high turnover of staff, but then again, in an industry with a high staff turnover, there are also going to be plenty of job vacancies! How much is your salary?
£18 000 a year.

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