STEP: Mae-Li’s Internship at NTS

Mae-Li Evans is Online Radio Intern at NTS, as part of the STEP programme

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STEP is a programme offering paid twelve-month jobs comprised of two internships in two different areas of the Creative Industries.

7 lucky east London applicants were chosen to take part in the programme, and are all currently working on their first internship placements. They will all be blogging about their experiences as the programme progresses - Click here to find out more about the STEP programme and check the blog section for more posts soon.



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When I was younger, I bought fruit and veg for my mum from Ridley Road Market on a Saturday morning. Carrots. Pak Choi. Mushrooms. Courgettes. Bananas. Once I’d got everything on the list, and provided I had enough change, I would slyly duck into KFC for a wholesome £2 Snack Box and meander home before the chips got cold…

I walk that same route today, past gleaming adverts for showroom apartments and fancy eateries. Peacocks has since replaced KFC. I swerve left into Gillett Square, to the offices and studios of NTS Radio where I’ve been for the last few months, thanks to STEP. The ability to stroll to work is a luxury that isn’t lost on me. It’s one that my Oystercard and I, will miss sorely when it comes to the second placement.

This is just one example of the many components that surround work that I’ve thought about. The fuzzy edges that often aren’t easily quantifiable, yet often make such an impact on how you feel about waking up each morning and spending around a third of your day somewhere. The last few months have given me the opportunity to take mental note of what works for me and what doesn’t – and how this affects what I want to do in the future.

Do you prefer being in an open plan office or a small side room?

Do you work better at a desk for most of the day, or on your feet? A mix of both perhaps.

How big’s the workforce? I think this might be just the right size.

Do you like working independently?

Do you feel more comfortable within a team?

The word community gets bandied around a lot, but I can wholeheartedly say that NTS is a close-knit one, a proper family. It’s a place that celebrates difference, and it’s been great to be somewhere that champions diversity. No, but actually. In an industry where line-ups are largely pale, male, and end of the sad loaf stale – it has been affirming to be amongst those that actively showcase talent that doesn’t fit this descriptor.

NTS work with hundreds of resident hosts, artists, and guests each month. It’s been a privilege to produce a variety of radio shows, and see the breadth of approach. There’s no formula to NTS. No set way of making a ‘good’ show, or being ‘number 1’ host. Each host comes with their own set of preferences, ways of working. Some hosts are DJs. Some run music labels. Some make music. Some play only vinyl. Some play CDs. Some play mp3s. Some mix it up. Some wear a Stetson. Some like to talk. Some don’t ever touch the mic. But whoever they are, however they want to make their show, they are welcomed with open arms and made to feel at home. They are given the time and space to do what they do best.

They are encouraged. They are trusted.

Thanks to this combination, I’m editing shows from media powerhouse, Otegha Uwagba, or interviews with renowned photographer, Janette Beckman or musician, Penny Rimbaud.

Thanks to this combination, I’m more confident at writing copy.

Thanks to this combination, I mustered up the courage to propose and produce a Christmas quiz, (complete with snazzy visuals, effects pad, and crayon based art round) for an office I’d only recently joined.

I recognise now that this combination often results in the best work from people.