Case study

a career

From being ‘born and bred in Langley Mill’  - which Lewis boasts has both ‘a pub AND a shop’ – coming to study at Derby was his first experience of going beyond the hometown. And having secured a job at BBC Radio in London, Lewis’ career has already taken him even further. 

Lewis Allsopp came to uni with an interest in the media, and being a creator of it. He chose a degree in Media Production, which meant he would be able to cover everything from audio to film, as well as the basic rules of the media industry. 

Lewis says: “It's quite beneficial to be a multi-skilled graduate nowadays because five jobs are thrown into one and you’re a multimedia journalist or a multimedia producer. So that's the reason I chose this course because it made you a bit of everything. I learned about functions like graphic design and although I'm not going into that field, I've got those skills and they're quite transferable.”

Once he had the foundations, Lewis' subsequent years of study allowed him to take his practice further: “It becomes about experimenting with those rules and actually probably breaking some of them to create something new. That's what I've liked about it.”

Spectrum of discovery

Lewis credits the expert teaching team with helping him to understand the full media spectrum. He says: “They know what they're talking about but they'll also give you room to have a go at stuff.”

The students are encouraged to stay up to date with new innovations and interruptions to traditional media too. Lewis explains: “It's about working out what's next and they've been really good at helping us to do that. We've been working with AI and moving posters and all of these things as well as more traditional media so it's quite a well-rounded view.”

Lewis appreciates the investment the University puts into its facilities as it means students are graduating with skills often ahead of the sector. He explains: “I'm sat in this studio with Calrec Type R desks which are £40 grand a pop. These are really good and these are industry standard so when I go into the BBC, they've not actually got these models yet, they've got the one down from these.”

Industry standard

Lewis says all of the equipment used is industry standard, and one of the benefits of studying is being given the chance to understand it. He says: “I've really enjoyed getting to learn how to use them and at university you have that time which you don't always get in a job, to mess about with the kit. That's really valuable because without that you can't work out the quirks and what it's good and bad for. It's nice to have that time to work that out for yourself.” 

Lewis got an opportunity to function as his class’ director for a film they made. He explains: “We've all got to know each other really well and what we're good at. We said, let's work to our skills here.” Ahead of his first directing role, Lewis has been able to tap into his lecturers' knowledge to work through his concerns ahead of production. He comments, “They really do know what they're doing."

His ‘New Horizons’ course module saw him make a media product and for this he worked alongside the Research team at the University on a series of educational podcasts called ‘For a better tomorrow’.

Level switches on sound desk
Microphone in studio booth

Voice of the radio 

Outside of the classroom, Lewis has had a passion for radio since he was 16, when he started volunteering at local station Erewash Sound. He’s modest about his path there, but his enthusiasm led to a traineeship and role as a paid presenter covering holidays when he was 17. This turned into one show a week, and that became the five days a week ‘Drive’ afternoon show which he hosted up until his final year of university.

But that's not all that kept him busy, as he kept developing and demonstrating his skills through regular freelance work. The University has supported him with having the right kit and often knowledge for each of the jobs, and he credits advice from his lecturers which helped him work things out several times. It’s been known for Lewis to bump into teaching team members at BBC Radio Derby because of their shared connections.

Lewis Allsopp in our journalism suite

I've done some freelance stuff for the BBC at Radio Derby, Radio Nottingham, Radio 4 on location and the World Service and made some documentaries. I got Pick of the Week in The Guardian for something I produced which was quite nice.

Lewis Allsopp
On the broad success he's had alongside his studies

Natural next step

Lewis was given the opportunity to combine his talents of direction and radio during a Newsday show the students were making in the studios. He explains: “As much as I like presenting, I love the production side of making stuff work, getting people in the right place and making it sound good.”

Having enjoyed the process, Lewis came across a related vacancy at BBC Radio 4 for a Studio Director. He says: “I thought, I've been doing it at Uni, so I might as well just have a go. I knew I'd like the job and that I had the skills to do it.” The application led to an all-day interview and assessment day, where the added challenge of train strikes meant Lewis had to get to it via a middle of the night bus journey to the capital. It didn’t slow him down though and all led to a job offer by the end of the same week.

Lewis remarked how supportive the University has been for him chasing the opportunity, despite the obvious challenges leaving partially through his third year brought. A positive conversation with his programme leader gave Lewis the momentum he needed to achieve both his degree and newfound employment: “He said, ‘look you’re here to get a good job and if you’ve got that job already, we will do whatever we can to make sure you can go and do that while getting your qualification.” 

Ahead of schedule

Lewis left Langley Mill for London in the Spring of his third year – with his new flat sorted, and one of his life ambitions – to work in New Broadcasting House – already achieved. And following the support of the teaching team to submit his final assignments early, he even managed to graduate with a first class honours degree.

He’s pleased with the outcome of his story so far and looking ahead, he says: “I'd like to continue and work my way up in the production side and the role I'm going into has a really good footing in terms of working in a central team, which means I get to see how a lot of other teams work. 

“Long term I'd like to be working on creative entertainment shows, like on Radio 2, Radio 1 – that's where I'd like to end up.”  
Given his rapid trajectory so far, it seems Lewis has the potential to achieve whatever he sets his mind to. 

Find out more about our courses in Journalism and Film and Media