Milestone for the Media Learning Company
City College Norwich’s Media Learning Company course, which pioneered a new approach to training young people for careers in film, television, and other media production roles, is celebrating 10 years of launching careers in the industry.
The Media Learning Company model
Thought to be the only course of its kind in the UK, the Media Learning Company has a radically different approach from traditional media production courses.
While students still work towards a recognised qualification (a UAL Level 4 Professional Diploma in Technical & Production Practice), their day-to-day experience is much more akin to having a job than being on a college course.
The students create a fresh new brand for the Media Learning Company each year before embarking on an intensive year of working on creative commissions - ranging from video, to animation, live events, graphics, and photography - from a wide range of local organisations.
Previous clients/collaborators have included Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk Constabulary, The Royal Norfolk Show, The Benjamin Foundation Nelson's Journey, Norwich Science Festival, On the Ball, and a range of small businesses.
Working on real commissions for external clients
Working for these clients, who are separate from the college and have their own important objectives for each commission, provides an experience that mirrors key aspects of what it is like working for a real production company.
James McConnell, who was part of Motion Bear Media (2016-17) and now works as a Senior Technical Operator for BBC Look East, recalls,
We really hit the ground running. There were so many huge projects right at the get go.”
Evie Calaby, who was part of Zanas Media (2013-14) comments:
Because you are working as a real student production house, you are making real work for real clients.” Now working as a Production Manager and Production Co-ordinator, Evie adds, “It’s so much more than a traditional education course. It sets you up for life really.”
Opportunities to experience different production roles
Media Learning Company students take on different roles for each new commission, which allows them to develop a broad range of skills and get a taste of what it is like to work in different roles within a production team.
The Media Learning Company year is demanding and fast-paced, as the team members get to grips with different roles and responsibilities, whilst working together to meet the requirements of each unique client brief.
Supported by their lecturers, who have wealth of industry experience themselves, and local media production company Eye Film, the Media Learning Company students have developed a reputation for consistently producing work of an exceptional standard.
Andy Prosser, who was part of Novo Wave Media (2018-19) and is now a Camera Operator and Editor for Eye Film, says:
It was so high pressure, but the rewards that you got from knowing that you’d produced something that there was no way you would have thought you could have produced at the start of the term, it was incredible.”
Graduates make their mark in the industry
Drawing on the wealth of skills developed from their Media Learning Company experiences, graduates have gone on to rapidly make their mark in a wide range of media production roles, including in film, television, and setting up their own successful businesses (either directly from college, or after continuing their studies at university).
The list of well-known films and television programmes that Media Learning Company graduates have worked on includes BBC News, Great British Bake-Off: The Professionals, The Voice, Grand Designs, Cruella, The Little Mermaid, Tenet, and many more.
Others have worked in Emmy and Royal Television Society award-winning production houses, creative agencies (working with the likes of Alexander McQueen, Adidas and more) and in prestigious educational establishments such as Ravensbourne University London and the London Film School.
Among those who have started up their own businesses is Matthew Potter, who was part of Creative Toast (2012-13) and now works as a freelance photographer and videographer. Matthew says:
I would describe the course as a brilliant tool for understanding the industry, with the great tutors and the knowledge they have.”
Following in their footsteps
The latest group of Media Learning Company students can’t wait to establish their own identity and get working on a new set of projects. These will include a large-scale cross media campaign for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk.
Lorraine Sutherland, Learning Company Leader, commented:
The Media Learning Company took the idea of creating realistic working environments in college to an ambitious new level. By moving away from the idea of this being a course, and operating day-to-day as a production company, we have been able to give our students a unique experience of what it takes to be successful in the industry.
The track record of Media Learning Company graduates in developing successful careers in media production, including working on some very high-profile films and television series, is a real testament to this approach and the amazing support we have had from the many local organisations who have worked with our students over the past decade.”