Trainee technical project manager
Also known as: Trainee project manager
What does a trainee technical project manager do?
Trainee technical project managers work as part of a small team and are usually supervised by more senior project managers. As a trainee, they will learn how to plan a project, report on progress and keep things on track to make sure that it finishes on time, without over-spending the budget. Such projects could involve helping to build a temporary broadcast studio for the FIFA World Cup coverage or assisting with the backstage communication facilities for the hundreds of journalists who attend the Eurovision Song Contest.
Trainee technical project managers help the technical project manager. They may be given responsibility for a small part of a project, including its budget, and will need to update their manager on how it’s progressing. They must understand how the different parts of a project fit together and how to give accurate technical information to their team.
Although a lot of planning work is done in an office, trainee project managers can expect to travel to site whenever their company has installation work to do. The site may be in the UK, but it could be anywhere in the world, especially when it comes to major events like the Olympics or World Cup.
Trainee technical project managers have a key role in making the whole project come together, from the planning stage to completion. Project work is varied and no two days are the same, whether it’s delivering a multi-million pound OB vehicle or a single TV studio.
Working on a project involves setting much longer-term goals than in either broadcast maintenance or operations, so if you enjoy planning, thinking ahead and working with a small team, then this could be the role for you.
Watch and read
- First day as a project manager (5 things you need to do)
- Working in broadcast media technology panel hosted by RISE – Women in Broadcast
- Day in the life: Mark Barnes, project manager, dB Broadcast
- What is a technical project manager? (And why you should think about becoming one)
What is a trainee technical project manager good at?
- Adaptability: being able to take instructions in a changing environment
- Problem solving: finding problems as they arise and coming up with solutions
- Communication: working with many colleagues in different departments and making sure that everyone understands their role.
Who does a trainee technical project manager work with?
How do I become a trainee technical project manager?
This is an entry-level role, so you don’t need a degree, but if you want to go to university then a degree in a related subject would come in handy. Some trainees may have a background in broadcast engineering or project management, while for others this could be their first job.
At school or college
If you’re interested in a career in broadcast engineering, A-levels in maths and physics would be good to get under your belt. You could combine these with subjects from the arts and humanities, such as English, history or music, which may come in useful for the content of the programmes you work with. Languages are also handy if you need to travel or want to work with foreign broadcasters – studying A-level Spanish might be your ticket to working at the 2026 World Cup in Mexico!
The following Level 3 vocational qualifications are also relevant to this role:
- BTEC in Engineering with Engineering Maths
- Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Engineering
- BTEC National Foundation Diploma in Engineering
- C&G Technical Certificate in Engineering
- EAL Technical Diploma/Extended Diploma in Engineering Technologies
- BTEC Diploma/Extended Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- City & Guilds Advanced Technical Diploma in Electrical Installation
- EAL Diploma/Advanced Diploma in Electrical Installation
Selected schools and colleges have also started offering T-levels – a qualification equivalent to three A-levels that is designed to help you get into the industry of your choice. Study is 80% classroom- and 20% work placement-based.
The following T-levels would help to kick-start your career in broadcast engineering:
- Media, Broadcast and Production
- Digital Production, Design and Development
- Digital Support Services
- Digital Business Services
- Design and Development for Engineering and Manufacturing
- Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing
- Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
Apprenticeships are jobs with training. Search for apprenticeships in broadcast engineering with broadcasters like BBC and Sky. Go to What’s an apprenticeship? to find out more and Where can I find an apprenticeship? to find apprenticeships in your region. Alternatively, you can approach companies directly. Take a look at our list of apprenticeships to find the schemes of the main broadcasters. The BBC has a three-year broadcast and media systems degree apprenticeship that offers a mix of practical experience and university study in all areas of media systems engineering. You may also be interested in the level 3 apprenticeship for broadcast and media systems technical operator or you might want to start your career with a digital and technology solutions professional apprenticeship or a software engineering apprenticeship.
Get involved with events in your local community, whether that’s running the sound for your school talent show, managing the special effects for an amateur dramatics society or helping out at a volunteer-run radio station.
Contact theatre productions or local music venues that can get you behind the scenes of a production environment. Anything that gives you experience in dealing with equipment in a live environment will be helpful. Voluntary experience is great for your CV, because it shows you’re enthusiastic, have technical ability and experience and you work well as part of a team.
Get a degree
A degree in a maths or science subject would stand you in good stead for entering the world of broadcast engineering. You could also look at electronic engineering, software design or computing. Go to ScreenSkills Select to find university and college courses accredited by ScreenSkills.
Look outside the industry
If you can’t or don’t want to get into broadcast engineering straightaway, industries that require similar skills include telecoms, live events and radio. These would enable you to strengthen your technical abilities and get experience with technical equipment.
Get work experience
Write to local production companies and ask if they offer technical assistant roles. Keep an eye out for work experience opportunities at the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and the PACT Indie Diversity Training Scheme.
Alternatively, try approaching a rental equipment company that supplies productions with the gear they need. This will enable you to get your hands on equipment, learn more about it and get to know people who work in TV.
Take a short course
If you are over 18, make a ScreenSkills account and check out ScreenSkills’ Training and opportunities page and click on Training to see what courses are available, whether they are in person or online. The training doesn’t have to be linked directly to broadcast engineering; for example, a short course on developing resilience would help you understand how to thrive in challenging circumstances.
Get to know people in the film and TV industry by attending events such as ScreenSkills’ Open Doors. Go to Training and opportunities and use the events filter to find out what’s on. Meet professionals and ask them questions about their work, while demonstrating interest in and knowledge of the industry. Offer to provide them with your professional contact details and try to stay in touch with them. Go to Network well to learn how to do this.
Create a LinkedIn profile. See if there are Facebook pages or other social media groups for people making film and TV in your area. Create a ScreenSkills profile. There are a lot of crewing agencies that will charge you to be on their books. Sign up to the free ones initially. Wales Screen, Northern Ireland Screen and Filming in England offer free crew databases and opportunities to network in person. Find a film office near you and get connected. If you do sign up to paid sites, make sure they specialise in the areas in which you’re interested.
Search for jobs
Search for jobs on the broadcasters’ websites as well as on LinkedIn and other job-hunting websites. Make use of the ScreenSkills jobs board. You can also send a short speculative letter with your CV to technical managers or vision supervisors.
You might also be interested in...
For other roles in the installation department, look at technical project manager, senior technical project manager and wireperson. For other entry-level roles, see trainee IT support engineer and trainee AV engineer.
- Why the Industry needs more Broadcast Engineers | NFTS
- BritishFilm Commission list of UK studios
- Engineering Council
- Rise: Women in Broadcast
- The Institution of Engineering and Technology
- The International Trade Association for the Broadcast & Media Industry
- The Media Production & Technology Show
- Society of Media Professionals, Technologists and Engineers
- International Broadcasting Convention
- BBC Academy
- ITV Entry Careers
- Sky early careers
- 4Skills (Channel 4)
- Bectu (the media and entertainment union)
- Bectu Ratecards