11th January 2018


Conor McCann shares with us what it’s like to be a Modern Apprentice at Raise the Roof

At Raise the Roof Productions we place developing new talent, creativity and diversity in Scottish broadcasting at the heart of what we do. We actively work with schools, colleges and universities across Scotland in a bid to provide those looking for employment with more information on the opportunities available to them in this creative industry. In a first for Raise the Roof, we have offered a Modern Apprenticeship, run in partnership with the City of Glasgow College to Conor McCann who is working and learning with us alongside studying for a Diploma in Creative and Digital Marketing. Apprenticeships aren’t the norm in TV and we’re delighted to have given the opportunity to someone who otherwise may have found it difficult to break into the industry through the traditional routes. Here, we find out from our apprentice Conor McCann about his career journey to date. This is his story.

When did you leave school?

I left school in 2014 at the end of 5th year of my secondary education from John Paul Academy in Glasgow.

 What did you do next and why?

As well as going to school, I started doing part-time plumbing and electrical courses from about 3rd year in secondary school. I think doing this stood me in good stead for when the opportunity came up for a plumbing traineeship.  I had experience that none of my fellow classmates had. I applied and got straight onto the trainee plumbing course which I started at the end of 5th year. This included attending college and on-site training. With most of my family in construction it seemed like the right career for me at the time.

What made you want to change your career? 

There was a lot about plumbing I really enjoyed like the problem solving and the practical side of it too but after 2 years, I realised I didn’t actually want to follow the route of other family members and decided not to complete the four-year course. It had always been my ambition to be creative and be part of something that people love and can relate to. I felt that it was time make a change and to try to develop my skills and train in a totally different industry. It was a bold decision but you have to take risks in life in order to expand your knowledge, understanding and to learn about yourself both professionally and personally. 

How did you hear about opportunities about RTRP?

Firstly, I heard about a recruitment website called Glasgow Guarantee. Via this website you can access opportunities to training, work, modern apprenticeships and job opportunities.  It’s an amazing council run programme which guides young people aged between 16-24 years old into employment. I saw the advert on their website for the opportunity here at Raise the Roof to run alongside the Diploma at the City of Glasgow College. Apart from that, I had to conduct all my own research into RTRP and the TV industry although Glasgow Guarantee will continue to support me throughout my traineeship.  

 Why did you decide you wanted to work in the TV industry?

I’d been researching different options before I made my final decision to finish at college. I was looking for apprenticeships that I believed would really push me. I saw an advert for an apprenticeship in television, which I thought was a shot in the dark. Although I watch lots of TV, I had no real clue about how it all worked. After further research, I started to realise that there are endless opportunities, much more than I thought. I wanted to do something creative and I felt I had skills I could bring. I started to think it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up on and decided to apply.

 What programmes have really inspired you?

Personally, I love watching all genres including documentaries, entertainment shows, factual shows and history programmes.  I also like presenter-led programmes and really enjoy watching shows such as Grand Designs.

 Tell us about the application process for the Television Production Traineeship?

After I applied for the position of Television Production Trainee, there were two interviews where I had to answer lots of questions about what I would do in certain situations and how I would handle them. I was asked about my favourite TV shows and what channels I watched the most. I found it quite daunting as I’d never been in an interview situation like that before. However, if you show enthusiasm, are well prepared and confident - the best of you will come across and the employer will take notice. Before the interview I did lots of research into the types of programmes my potential new employer had made and about the company’s background. I also made sure I understood the job-role which involved spending time with different people in various departments from development to production as well as the business side of things too, all of which really interested me although I didn’t have any experience. I knew I had to show that I could work well with people and be willing to learn. I would say when applying for any position, be absolutely sure you understand the role, do your homework before the interview and just be yourself.

What’s been the best advice you’ve been given, so far?

No matter what you want in life whether it’s a new job, a new jacket or to travel the world - you have to work for it. It’s so true - if you work hard, put the time and dedication in, you’ll reap the rewards. To this day, it’s by far the best piece of advice I have been given.

 Can you outline what experiences you’ve had since starting your traineeship at Raise the Roof?

I’ve been at Raise the Roof for about 10 months now and the experience has been amazing. I started my traineeship with the development team. During that time, I got really into in-depth research and had the opportunity to go down to London several times taking part in high-profile meetings including one with Channel 5 controller Ben Frow. I’d recommend to anyone thinking about a career in TV to watch his Meet the Controller session from last year’s Edinburgh International TV Festival. I’ve also had the opportunity to present my own ideas and pitch them to popular broadcasters. I’m now working in production for the first time and am property searching, researching and transcribing for a well-known returning C4 property series. This hands-on training and learning is both enjoyable and satisfying.  

 What do you want to get out of this opportunity at RTR?

I love working here and while I’ve already learnt loads, there’s still so much more to learn and I’m keen to develop further. At the end of this placement, I’d love the opportunity to become a junior researcher on production or in development. I want to continue to expand my knowledge further and really kick-start my career in TV.

 What TV job do you aspire to?

I’d love to become a TV presenter. It’s not in my near thoughts but it’s definitely my ambition. At the moment, I’m keen to learn more about how a production operates and what it takes to be successful as part of the team. 

What advice would you offer others thinking of a career change?

It’s easier said than done but don’t be afraid to make a change. Set yourself goals and strive to meet them -  one goal at a time.  If you want a change or to chase your dream job – just do it! Without doubt, it will require hard work, dedication and involve some risk-taking but you’ll be more disappointed if you don’t take the leap. 



Carrie Hunter