Kayleigh Sierra-Mills

Freelance Producer

My route into television wasn’t the most straightforward one as I didn’t try and turn my passion for programmes into a career until the age of 28. I had been working as the Head of Studies at an English academy in the sunny south of Spain, and whilst I was good at my job and had a comfortable lifestyle, deep down, I knew that something was missing. Ultimately, it just wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I had always longed to work in either TV or radio, but just didn’t know in what capacity and was also worried that I had left it too late to “get in” and figure it out. This is where The Network proved invaluable to me in so many ways.

To start with, the one-to-one CV clinic with an industry professional showed me that my previous life experience was actually an advantage and not something that was going to hold me back, as the skills I had gained through teaching were also extremely useful in TV production. I was reassured that passion, creativity and a willingness to work hard were more important than anything as a new entrant to TV. That said, I also learned that people in TV not only work hard but play just as hard too! The social side of The Network is fantastic – I had an absolute ball and learned so much from my fellow alumni. I am extremely proud to see how they are all getting on in their careers now, smashing it in their respective fields.

Throughout the few days, I attended a number of informative masterclasses which were genuinely inspirational. For example, the masterclass on research skills run by the Executive Producer of Pointless – one of my favourite ever quiz shows! – showed me how to thoroughly fact-check, which has come in useful many times in my career. In fact, I think attending this class helped me quickly make the step up from runner to researcher. Then, the masterclass given by Jay Hunt on being a woman in the industry truly was phenomenal. One of my main worries about becoming a freelancer was the lack of stability and how this might affect me if I wanted to start a family one day. To hear Jay talk about how it can be done, although it isn’t always easy, really energised me to try and hit the ground running, work hard and succeed. As such, I have now been working in television for nearly 5 years, currently at the level of Casting Producer and Edit Producer, and thankfully I have never been out of work.

All-in-all, applying to The Network was one of the best decisions I could have made. The scheme really opened my eyes to the number of possibilities available to me, and was a wonderful opportunity which gave me the tools, support and contacts I needed to succeed.

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