Students to learn by working on TV shows

Lecturers Gareth Dobson, left, and Tim Rose in the television studio at Abingdon and Witney College

Students Agne Grineviciute and Nicholas Samsworth in the studio

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter. Please call me on (01865) 425411

ONE Simon Cowell is enough for most, but a college in Oxfordshire is looking to pump out an entire class of TV impersarios.

Abingdon & Witney College is to team up with new station That’s Oxford, which was awarded a broadcasting licence by regulator Ofcom on Wednesday.

Students from the college's Witney campus will be enlisted as apprentices to help run the output and produce new shows. Some could even find themselves in front of the camera as the station seeks out faces to front its arts and current affairs programming.

Assistant principal Fiona Morey said the idea was to put students through a BTEC qualification while giving them a live platform to learn.

“They will be creating and running news programmes and creating content for That’s Oxford, running production companies and supporting community groups and local businesses to produce material,” she said.

Head of faculty Hannah James added that the college’s Oxford Creative Academy would be at the forefront of the training.

“We’re looking to train our students and members of the local community to play a part in the new world of digital technologies and succeed. “They will know about working in this environment because they will learn by working; a live brief is always the best way to gain knowledge.”

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About 12 full-time jobs will be created but a larger staff will be drawn from its broadcast base at the college and Oxford Brookes University with media students, apprentices, and trained members of the community running the schedule.

The fledgling station hopes to begin airing shows in 2014.

The station beat two rivals to win the 12-year licence, and counts TV personalities Esther Rantzen and Jim Rosenthal amongst its board members.

It also has backing from the Blackwell publishing family.

That’s Oxford chief executive Daniel Cass, who ran SIX TV until it went off air in 2009 after 10 years, said: “We are proud to be working with the highly regarded courses at Abingdon and Witney in the delivery of our new service for Oxford, and look forward to working with the student and staff team as we prepare the launch.”

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