Students from the Bath Rugby HITZ Learning Academy were recently welcomed to Bath Radio as part of their work experience to get a feel for what working in a radio station is like.
The HITZ Learning Academy is Premiership Rugby’s flagship education and employability programme.
It works with over 2,000 14- to 23-year-olds every year, giving them the necessary skills and opportunities to get back into education, employment, or training.
Over the course of six weeks, five students attended training sessions with Bath Radio.
Volunteer presenters Mike Stevenson and Allan Trinder worked with the students to develop their skills, covering many different elements of radio.
These included voice training, learning how to use a radio desk, basic interview techniques, recording interviews and an introduction to basic editing skills.
At the end of the training, HITZ student Jack Hopkins was able to put his newly acquired abilities to the test.
He joined Allan at the Rec for the men’s and women’s doubleheader rugby matches. Before the match, Jack interviewed Hannah Stephens from the women’s rugby team to find out how she was feeling about the game.
He also interviewed one of the HITZ learning support assistants, Josh, on match day to help raise awareness about the work HITZ does in supporting young people.
When asked about his work experience, Jack mentioned that doing the commentary for the Bath Rugby game was his favourite part.
He said: “I was really looking forward to doing that [commentating for Bath Rugby] when they told me about it. It was such a cool experience for me.”
Charlie Muscat, another HITZ student, also relished his time with Bath Radio.
He said: “This was a new experience for me. I’ve done lots of different types of work experience before, but this was the one I was most interested in, and I had the best time doing.”
Charlie believes the training really helped boost his self-confidence. His favourite part was getting the chance to do interviews. “I did an interview and really enjoyed it.
“Hearing people do interviews on the radio I always thought I would love to do something like that and being able to get out there and do it was an amazing experience. Every time I listen back to it, I think wow I can’t believe I did that!”
Volunteer presenter Allan Trinder, who supported the students during the six weeks, was impressed with how well the students got on.
He said: “It was great to work with a number of different HITZ students at the studios. I was really impressed with their enthusiasm and ability to pick things up so quickly.
“Starting with no experience of radio at all it was great to see their progression from the first somewhat nervous session in front of a microphone to being able to drive the desk and confidently put together a short, recorded feature.
“One of the students, Jack, went on to produce an excellent interview for our regular Sports Show and helped with our commentary team at one of Bath Rugby’s home matches, while Charlie proved to be a natural presenter who could fit in nicely to our schedule.
“Probably the most satisfying part for me was to see them growing in self-confidence and self-esteem as the project progressed and they achieved something new each week.”
Part of the reason Charlie wanted to experience the radio station was to help give a younger person’s perspective on what is happening in Bath.
When asked about the importance of community radio and if they think it could be helpful to young people both Charlie and Jack agreed that it could be.
Jack believes it is also a great place to start if you are interested in working in radio professionally. Charlie also thinks that a local station can not only help young people who are interested in presenting but also be a good way to connect them with the community.
He added: “Once you get the word out more young people will be inspired to join new things within the community and potentially get the chance to learn new things.
“Even I learned something new about Bath. Engaging with the younger community will definitely help to get them interested [in radio].
“Working with HITZ has been a great opportunity for Bath Radio and a great way to introduce younger people to community radio.”
Volunteer producer Allan said: “Getting some radio experience is a great way to develop communication and interpersonal skills and being able to provide an opportunity such as this working with Bath Rugby HITZ was really special and what we are about as a community radio station.”