Success Stories

Manpreet Syan


"I never saw Asian women in the industry, particularly in editing. It's clear that talent and ability often gets overlooked due to race or status."

Before discovering the MAMA Youth Project in 2017, 26 year old Manpreet from West London was stuck in a job she had no passion for.  Two years after graduating she was working at an Ealing law firm and spending all her spare time applying for entry level roles in the media.  Disappointed to not even be able to secure unpaid work experience or an apprenticeship in the broadcast industry, Manpreet was frustrated as she had been led to believe that her degree would give her a solid foundation to apply for work in television.  Furthermore, she recognised that there seemed to be so few young Asian women in the industry, particularly in technical roles such as video editing.  Manpreet knew that she faced a struggle and that if she had any chance of realising her dream, she must remain determined.

What were you doing before MAMA Youth Project and what was life like?

I was working at a law firm in Ealing, not enjoying my work as I had no passion for that industry. Constantly applying for roles within the broadcast industry. I was also applying for two-week work experience roles and apprenticeships (despite having a degree) just to get my foot in the door. I just wanted the chance to prove my abilities within the industry I was so passionate about

What were your career expectations at that time?

My expectation was that my degree would have given me a solid foundation to find work within the industry, but I was still struggling after almost 2 years of graduating and was stuck in a job I just wasn’t passionate about. 

How did you find out about the MAMA Youth training scheme?

Through a school friend who I bumped into after many years. I explained my situation and she told me about the scheme and roughly what it was about. Hearing her success story and seeing how it changed her life motivated me to apply too.

What were the best and most challenging parts of the training?

The most challenging part would probably be learning how to work with so many diverse people at one time, especially being an editor where you are in a room with one person for many hours a day.  I learnt how to deal with those situations and how to make the best of the environment and adapt to each person’s individual needs in order to ensure efficient teamwork to complete the job to the best possible standard.

How was your placement following the training?

My placement after the scheme was in Sky working alongside the editors. This was a great opportunity to see what editors do on a daily basis and how they set up their workstations as well as seeing how they liaise with their clients. I also got hands on experience being able to edit Soccer Am, The Top Ten Show and NFL promos. 

How long did it take you to secure your first role in the industry?

Following my time at MAMA Youth in December 2017 I sent out a few applications and managed to secure a place on The Starting Out Scheme which was a new scheme being launched by Sky to help young people get into the industry. What appealed most to me about this was the fact that I would gain an insight into the wider business in relation to broadcast and content services. Fortunately, I was offered a place to begin the scheme in March 2018. I then did my first two placements within Content Handling, Ingest and Media Management. During my time in Media Management, the managers were recruiting for a new staff member which they informed me about and gave me an interview for. I was successful in getting the job and have been working there since July 2018.

What is your current role and what does it involve?

My current role within Media Management is quite varied as there are many modules within the department. I started on Sports, where we would provide support for the sports production teams, checking the feeds and creating MAM IDs. I am now working on another module called EST which is the processing of Sky Store material. As part of this module, I am in contact with various teams across Sky, liaising for movie and boxset material, requesting images, certifications and placeholders from other teams across the business. The boxsets have release dates which we work towards and collaborate with Store Planning teams to ensure these go live onto the Sky box for customers to purchase. 

What advice would you give to young people who maybe in a similar position to where you were?

To continue applying! Work experience means the most as it proves you can do the job. Your network is very important, build it as much as you can (LinkedIn is great) and always be open to other opportunities as these could lead to your dream job maybe through networking or you may even enjoy another area and be great at it.

What has been the personal impact of MAMA Youth on your life and career journey?

MAMA Youth helped me learn more about myself as well as about the industry. Not only does it help you progress your industry experience, you also gain vital life skills.  The team also arrange for you to have sessions to help build your character and learn about yourself and about interview techniques in addition to financial help for freelancers. This gives a great grounding to embark on your future career. It really helped me structure my plans and gave me a sense of direction which I had struggled to find on my own. 

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