Callum Peters and Al Jones

Friday 3rd December 2021

Callum Peters and Al Jones both work as senior designers from the BBC

They introduced us to the idea of not giving up.

They worked in the BBC offices in Salford before the pandemic. Now, they work from home mostly.

97% of UK households every week see the work 489 million per week use the BBC

Al did computer science at Chester university from 2009 to 2010, became interested in the creative industries and then started to get involved with web design. He then joined the BBC trainee scheme in 2012, just after the Olympics.

He worked on the Own it project that helps young kids grow up online.

Callum studied Graphic design at Chester uni and then joined the BBC trainee scheme.

During their work, they have got to work across all sections of the BBC.

BBC UX&D – Horizontal team of around 200 that work all around the BBC. They always work collaboratively as digital designers. They are a core team that underpins the BBC.

They suggest coming together for play in order to help facilitate work to unlock creativity, and finding new ways to innovate in order to keep the same feeling during the pandemic.

“Play is important, collaboration is important.”

Your creative path:

When Al finished his degree, he hit, as he called it, the spaghetti junction and was at a loss of where to go next. Al said that all the jobs, even the non-creative ones, were valuable. Taught the hard graft by the paper round and working in customer service.

Sometimes taking the time in a different career can build skills and give direction. Working in a call centre helped him build his communication skills.

For Callum’s first job, he did maternity cover for magazine adverts for police magazines. This actually made him think he didn’t want to do that kind of design. For his 2nd-year work placement, he went to London to work on app creation in the design industry. 3rd year he got offered a job at Blue leaf and was involved with Red Bull in the web design space. Unfortunately, he got made redundant soon after he got the job. His positive take is that it gave him resilience. He applied to be a Junior designer at BBC a few months later. He talks about getting to the place he wanted to be eventually.

Al gave out some statistics on the average job experience

6 different roles, 9 pay rises, 30,000 cups of tea made, 10,000 hrs, one relationship and one work bust-up. One big career change.

Harrison Ford was given as an example with his massive career change later in life. He was a carpenter until he was 35, when he got his acting job as Han Solo.

Al’s favourite place to work within the BBC was the sports section. He was involved with the website around Fifa World Cup. Callum’s favourite area was around the Children’s sector in the BBC as designing for children is different from designing for adults.

The process for the trainee sector interview is submitting a portfolio and C/V online along with answering some questions. After that, it goes to interviews which usually is only one round.

Al said that for his role, the most important skills he needs to have are storytelling and communication skills are important, especially when involved with stakeholders.

Callum says communication and building bridges with your team are the most important skills for him.

When starting out, having a passion for design, being open to learning as well as caring about typography and layouts are the most important things.

Al says that computer science is not necessary for working in UX design. Research abilities are key, as well as problem-solving skills and an ability to understand people.

Contact Info:

How do you stand out from the crowd. What makes you unique?

My take on the lecture:

One of my biggest takeaways from this lecture is that sometimes the path can be winding, but you will be in the right place for yourself with perseverance.

I also researched the trainee scheme and found that the BBC scheme recruits once a year around September for a January start and leads to placement within the UX&D department.

It’s a year-long course. Here is the link to the full web page with all the information, as well as some blog posts from the course itself

The general agreement is passion for design is the single most important thing when starting out.