BBC’s Chris Hemmings explains how useful the NBS course was to him

Chris Hemmings graduated from the National Broadcasting School’s Diploma in Radio Journalism in June 2013.   He tells us how he came to the course, and what it has meant for his career so far.

Having worked as a casual Broadcast Assistant with BBC Sport for 6 months, I was advised to go and get myself a journalism qualification as previously I had had no formal journalistic training.  In order to gain meaningful employment, it is a prerequisite for all BBC employees to gain the relevant media law training that accompanies any journalistic course.


The NBS course in Liverpool offered 13 weeks of radio broadcast journalism training.  It covered all the important aspects of reporting, bulletin writing and reading, desk driving and media law.  I showed the course to 5live’s output editor and he suggested that it was ideal for somebody in my position as it is accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council.


As I was already working in radio, I was eligible to apply for some funding to help with my travel costs and the cost of the course.  Skillset offer funding of up to £800 and I was granted the full amount.  I found both the course and the funding potential via twitter, and I cannot express how important social media has been in my career development.


The course really helped me develop my fledgling broadcasting skills.  I had been writing bulletins for 5live, but the additional training fine-tuned these – something that was quickly recognised by my BBC colleagues.  My goal is to become a broadcaster, and the support given in this area has been invaluable.  One added bonus to this course is that it is attached to Radio City 96.7’s news room.  Voice-coaching is not only offered by the tutors, but also from those in the news room.  We were regularly sent out to do vox-pops – an important skill to have for any radio beginner – and I was also fortunate to be sent to Aintree for Grand National weekend as Radio City’s reporter.


All this experience has been recognised by the BBC.  I am now on the freelance roster working regularly for 5live and the World Service and am also used as a reporter by Radio Manchester.


I can highly recommend this course to anybody at any stage of their broadcasting career.  I am sure the opportunities to learn a wide range of skills in an environment like this are not readily available on many journalism courses.

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