Placement & Training module
MA Film and Television: Research and Production

Contact: Jemma Penny, Placement Co-ordinator

Email: j.j.saunders@bham.ac.uk

Telephone: +44(0)121 414 5987

Information for students

Module description

The Placement and Training module not only offers valuable work experience opportunities to MA Film and Television students, but also provides the support you need to identify your personal strengths and assist you with CVs, cover letters and applications for roles in the media industry - ensuring you are best prepared for life and employment after graduation.

Our dedicated Placement Co-ordinator will work with you to identify suitable placement opportunities; from broadcast television and independent production companies, to freelance filmmakers and media projects both on campus and with external organisations. We have long-established links with a range of companies, but students are also welcome to source their own placements if they wish, within certain parameters.

Assessment

  • Feedback from your placement host/s (50%)
  • 4000 word reflexive essay (50%)

Submission dates for the placement essay usually fall in the summer, a month or so before the dissertation deadline.

Students frequently asked questions

  • How long will my placement be?
    The current maximum placement length is 12 weeks, with a standard 4 days per week, however there is no ‘typical’ placement length. Many students will split their placement time across 2 or even 3 companies, depending on personal interests and what individual placement hosts are able to offer. We aim to keep things flexible and be as responsive to industry as possible, but even a combination of placements will never total more than 12 weeks per student.
  • Is there a minimum placement length?
    No. We understand that some students have ongoing commitments alongside the MA so if you only want to do one shorter placement, that’s absolutely fine and we may also be able to suggest opportunities that will be part-time. The Placement Co-ordinator will work with all students on a 1:1 basis to identify which companies may best suit you in terms of timescale, as well as probable experience.
  • When will my placement happen?
    Our main placement window is January to late June for full-time students. The timings are rarely set in stone, as many placements are dependent on commissions and a busy production slate, but this does vary between companies and part-time students can occasionally take placements in the summer of their first year or autumn of their second year. The coursework deadlines are designed to enable you to effectively balance your other work around placements.
  • Can I choose which company I want to go to?
    To an extent. The Placement Co-ordinator will discuss your interests with you and will make suggestions as to which companies you are likely to be suited to. As far as possible your preferences are taken into consideration.

All placements are subject to a successful interview with the hosting company, who will be sent your CV for consideration by the Placement Co-ordinator.

  • I’ve never written a CV or had an interview before – is there support available?
    Absolutely. In the first term of the MA, the Placement Co-ordinator will work closely with all students to offer bespoke guidance on CVs, especially as conventions are a little different for the creative industries. There will also be MA-specific workshops around interviews and general employability skills, with additional support available on request from the Placement Co-ordinator, other department staff, and the University’s Careers Network.
  • Can I arrange my own placement?
    We always encourage students to be proactive, but we do ask that you discuss any ideas you have with the Placement Co-ordinator if you plan to approach a company the MA does not already have a link with, as we want to ensure the experience is on a par with what we would expect for a placement organised through the MA. In order for a placement to count towards the module, it’s essential that the Placement Co-ordinator can liaise with the company directly.
  • I’m not sure if I want to do a placement – is this a problem?
    Not at all. We also offer a ‘Media Industries’ module, which still allows students to undertake research into an area of the industry, with support from the MA convenor and Placement Co-ordinator, but without undertaking the work experience element. The Media Industries assessment consists of a short film and written piece, and students opting to do this instead of the Placement module will take both Guided Reading and Guided Editing.

For employers

Module description

The Placement and Training module not only offers MA Film and Television students the chance to gain industry experience and develop their skills, but is a valuable opportunity for organisations to benefit from fresh talent and ideas. We are always keen to expand and diversify our range of placement partners, particularly within Birmingham and the West Midlands region.

If you would be interested in hosting an MA Film and Television student placement, please contact Jemma Penny for further information (j.j.saunders@bham.ac.uk). We would expect that most placement tasks will be those associated with runner and/or researcher roles, however placement students can also undertake production duties to support filming; post-production editing; pre-production tasks and research; writing and development; exhibition and distribution, etc.

We work closely with placement providers to ensure that both student and provider have a mutually beneficial placement experience.  

Employers frequently asked questions

  • How long can we host a student for?
    The total maximum placement length is 12 weeks at 4 days per week – this allows the student one weekday (Mondays are preferred) on which they can attend supervision meetings and other workshops on campus. Lots of students like to split their placement time between two or three companies, so shorter placements (e.g. 2, 4, 6 or 8 weeks) are very welcome and the Placement Co-ordinator will always advise you of any existing commitments when sending CVs for consideration.

  • What time of year do placements happen?
    Our main placement window is from mid-January to late June, but we occasionally have part-time students who are able to undertake a placement later in the summer, or in the autumn of their second year.

  • Do we get to choose which students work with us?
    The Placement Co-ordinator will send you CVs for consideration, and cover letters if requested, from students who have expressed a keen interest in your organisation. We would then expect interviews to take place at your workplace and a decision to be made as to which student(s) you would like to work with and when. There is never any obligation to host a student following interview – all we ask is for some constructive feedback that the Placement Co-ordinator can communicate to the student, and a firm decision either way to be made within one week.

  • Can we have more than one student at a time?
    Absolutely. As long as there is sufficient resource to appropriately support more than one student in your organisation, this is not a problem.

  • What are our responsibilities as a placement hosts?
    Placement hosts have a duty of care to placement students, as with any employees. All placement arrangements are underpinned by a formal letter and learning agreement, drawn up by the Placement Co-ordinator, which cover matters pertaining to insurance, health and safety, intellectual property and the placement objectives. The placement is a tripartite arrangement between the company, the student and the University.

  • Do we need to pay placement students?
    As the placements are an accredited part of an academic course, scaffolded with training and feedback from the host, there is no legal obligation to provide payment, but this is at the host’s discretion. Travel expenses are similarly at the host’s discretion, but we would expect that a contribution be made, especially in cases where placements are located outside of Birmingham, and that all costs are covered if working on a location away from the usual base. Should a student be asked to continue working at a company beyond the dates specified in their placement agreement letter, we respectfully ask that they are paid at a level appropriate to their role, and at least at national minimum wage.

  • What skills do your students have?
    All students commence the MA with different levels of experience and from a broad range of undergraduate backgrounds. In the autumn term, they receive training in the basics of cameras, lighting, sound and editing, alongside research and development. This gives them a solid foundation on which to build further skills in a workplace environment during the placement. Wherever possible, the Placement Co-ordinator will aim to match students’ skills and interests to a company’s output and requirements.

  • Our organisation needs a film to be produced – can your students help?
    Potentially, but this will depend very much on the nature and length of the film, and on the support and training available from you. Generally, placements are intended to integrate students into a workplace, but we can sometimes support contained film projects as well, in lieu of a pre-agreed amount of placement time and subject to the usual paperwork being completed. We have a filming brief template that we ask is completed and returned by anyone with a request of this nature in the first instance, so please email the Placement Co-ordinator if this is of interest. 
  • We need a runner for a day/have vacancies – can you recommend anyone?
    Quite possibly! As well as our current cohort, we also maintain links with alumni, particularly those still living and working locally, so we are always happy to share paid opportunities with our network. Please get in touch.