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Tom Smith

BA (Hons) Film & Television Production

Tom Smith headshot

When I sit back and think about all the things I’ve done in the last three years, I feel like I’ve achieved a lot in such a small amount of time. I put it down to hard work, resilience, fantastic support, and a solid foundation rooted in my days at Edge Hill.

My name is Tom Smith, I am 27 years old and originally from Nuneaton, Warwickshire but I currently live in Salford Quays, having moved here six months ago. I studied Film & Television Production from 2015 to 2018, graduating with full honours.

I was immediately taken aback by the facilities and the opportunity to learn from world-class professionals with years of industry experience and knowledge when I visited an open day. Everything looked incredible, not just the facilities but the campus itself, it was just this fantastic, thriving community, and I wanted to be a part of it.

There are so many great things about Edge Hill. The one aspect that sticks out the most, however, is the community. Edge Hill is roughly three hours away from where I grew up in Nuneaton, so to find myself in an unknown place but surrounded by people who were so warm and welcoming, from staff to students, made the whole transition so much easier, especially in my first few days and weeks.

The University’s proximity to some of the UK’s biggest and best cities is another bonus. Having cities like Liverpool and Manchester on your doorstep was brilliant to me. Before university I’d never visited either city but Edge Hill’s closeness to both allowed me to experience new cities and meet new people. Outside of London, the North West is arguably the UK’s biggest centre of creative arts, so having the likes of the BBC and ITV on your doorstep was also a massive advantage, as well as the world-class TV Production facilities.

After originally studying Film & TV production, I moved sideways and went into the world of PR – earning myself a master’s in public relations at BCU. During this time, I landed my first work experience as a match reporter, writing for Wasps Rugby Club youth team for a season. This was my first real world experience of working in a professional communications department and seeing my work published publicly for the first time, both brilliant experiences.

This opened the door into my first full-time role as a Communications Officer at Coventry City Council, promoting the work the council did in supporting and welcoming refugees and asylum seekers to the city. The most notable and high-profile example of this from my time there was being responsible for highlighting the council’s stance and support for refugees and asylum seekers during the Afghanistan crisis in 2021. I worked with local and regional media outlets, including BBC Midlands and Coventry Telegraph to showcase the council’s support and enhance their reputation.

This role then led me to my current job, as a National Press Officer at Alzheimer’s Society. I’ve been at the Society for a year and a half, and I’m responsible for leading high-profile campaigns and initiatives to raise vital funds and awareness of the charity simultaneously. Some highlights from my time at the Society include leading the media work on the organisations dedicated day during the Ashes series last year between England and Australia. Alzheimer’s Society were the chosen charity partner during the fifth test at Surrey County Cricket Club and it was my responsibility to work a host of national media outlets to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s Society and raise money in the process. We raised £150,000 and saw our work covered across BBC Sport, Sky Sports, the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Guardian and many more.

I’ve also led the charity’s inaugural integrated Christmas campaign in 2023. The purpose of the campaign was to highlight the devastation dementia caused for thousands at Christmas and encouraging people to donate to the cause. The two main ‘moments’ from the campaign included securing an interview for BAFTA-winner, Meera Syal, on ITV’s Lorraine, and placing case study, Bill Wilson, and Alzheimer’s Society’s Head of Corporate Partnerships, Lizzie Israeli, on BBC Breakfast.

One project I’m perhaps most proud of – alongside the Ashes – is being the media lead responsible for working with The FA and BBC Sport’s Football Focus TV programme to highlight the Alzheimer’s Society’s partnership with the FA in making sports stadiums dementia friendly. Filmed at Swansea’s stadium and fronted by BBC’s Elis James, this piece felt like I had come ‘full circle’ from my time at Edge Hill almost working on SPOTY.

When I sit back and think about all the things I’ve done in the last three years, working on an international humanitarian disaster to one of the world’s most famous international sporting events, I feel like I’ve achieved a lot in such a small amount of time. I put it down to hard work, resilience, fantastic support, and a solid foundation rooted in my days at Edge Hill.

Before university I originally wanted to work and seriously considered joining the Army or Navy, something practical that paid well, but I was persuaded out of that by my mother (who was once in the Army herself) who insisted that higher education was the route to go – I’m glad I listened!

If it wasn’t for my mother’s advice and time at Edge Hill, I would have never accomplished anything I have over the last few years, and for that I am immensely grateful to everyone who has helped play a part in that.

Advice for current students – Hard work and resilience will help you more than you know and remember – if it was easy, everyone would do it! Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Never stop learning and always be open to new experiences and meeting new people because you’ll never know where it may take you.  And most importantly of all, trust yourself, have confidence and enjoy yourself.

Advice for potential students – Get stuck in. Attend an open day. Don’t just read about Edge Hill, visit it. See the facilities for yourself, speak to the lecturers or to former students, ask questions and take some time to absorb it all. Once you’ve done that, apply anyway because I promise you, it will change your life.