The first two years: lessons for educators from UK entry-level workers in film and TV

Neil Percival*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article shares the findings from a two-year longitudinal study of the employment experiences of entry-level workers in the UK film and TV industries, with particular reference to the value they attributed to their prior education – or their perception of gaps in that education. Educational institutions were better at delivering practice-based training than career skills; many graduates lacked confidence, and soft skills proved more valuable than industry-specific craft skills, in a Bourdieusian ‘hysteresis’ where cultural capital from the academic field does not align with the need for social capital in the professional environment. The study identifies and explores a high prevalence of unpaid work and barriers to progression in the media sector, including exploitation, precarity, geographic location, the need for prior experience, and challenges to wellbeing. Recommendations are offered for educators in preparing students to navigate these early years and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-653
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Education and Work
Issue number7-8
Early online date3 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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