Zoe Rushton graduated from Swansea University in 2000, having completed her BA in Welsh. She currently works as a producer at the BBC.
Why did you decide to study at Swansea University?
I’m from Swansea and to be honest – I didn’t want to get into thousands of pounds of debt! That coupled with the fact that it’s a great University, in a beautiful setting and offered the exact course I wanted.
What did you enjoy most about your course at Swansea?
I studied Welsh but didn’t go to a Welsh speaking school so it was a four year course which included a foundation year that got me to the same standard as a fluent Welsh speaker. The course had a good variety of modules from Creative Writing to Ancient Welsh Literature.
What are you doing now career-wise?
I’m a Producer at the BBC. When I left University, I moved to Cardiff and offered up my services for free. I did work experience which was basically making tea, typing up the hand-written scripts of a man who didn’t know how to use a computer (yes, that’s true!) and running tapes to and from edit suites. I then got some casual work which led to short term contracts and I moved up and up from that. I’ve now worked on shows for most BBC channels including Doctor Who Confidential, Vets 24/7, BBC Young Musician and loads more.
How has Swansea University and your course helped you with your chosen career path?
Well, if I hadn’t have learned Welsh, I would never have got my first proper break in television - a kids’ show for S4C.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
The hours can be random, long and unsociable but to be fair, that’s the same for a lot of far less-enjoyable jobs so I can’t complain!
What are the most rewarding parts of your job?
It’s such a team effort. Everyone wants to get the best show possible out on the television so you really do pull together and work as a unit. This means you make some very close, loyal friends and get to meet some very interesting people. And sometimes you get to make a difference, if you can change just one viewer’s life for the better in some small way it’s a very rewarding feeling.
What was the best careers advice you were given?
Never walk, always run!
What advice do you have for current students and new graduates?
Get out there and do it! Don’t talk about it and think the world owes you a living. You have to go out there and make your own luck by working hard (sometimes for nothing), showing you’re serious about what you do and most importantly, being nice! People will remember a smiley face who says ‘Good morning!’, they won’t remember a gloomy bystander shifting from foot to foot in the corner.
What are your plans for the future?
To keep learning. Only with knowledge and experience can you move on and achieve what you want to achieve.
What have you done that you are most proud of?
After David Tennant announced he was leaving Doctor Who, there was weeks of speculation in the tabloids about who would take over. We were given the task of protecting the secret, and made a special documentary which announced to an audience of 6 million viewers that Matt Smith was ‘The New Doctor’.
What are your favourite memories of your university years at Swansea?
Divas. Always Divas.
Outside of work, what do you enjoy?
Films, good TV drama, reading, the Kennedys and all sorts of music.