Aberdeen graduate’s television career takes off

2 November 2016

Craig SmaaskjaerA graduate from Aberdeen University has transformed his career thanks to Change100 — the pioneering paid internship scheme from the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. 

Craig Smaaskjaer, 38, took on a three-month paid internship in 2016 through Change100.

Working as a researcher with the TV production company Wall to Wall Media, Craig proved so successful he landed a full-time job with the firm.

Having completed work on a BBC history documentary, Craig now works on the company’s hit Channel 4 show Child Genius.

Craig said:

‘The opportunities I’ve got through Change100 are amazing.

‘For years I wanted to get into TV production but I never thought it was possible.

‘Now I would say to anyone when you identify an area you would like to work in — go for it!’

Change100 invites disabled students and recent graduates to take on paid work placements.

This gives UK firms the chance to work with aspiring young people who are keen to give their all in the workplace.

Helena Ely, head of production at Wall to Wall, said:

‘The Change100 programme has allowed us to access talented entry level individuals who want to make a career for themselves in television.

‘Craig has been a great asset to the company. The interns we have had working for us through Change100 have been excellent.

‘The scheme will help us more broadly with attracting and retaining talent from diverse backgrounds.’

Prior to joining Wall to Wall, Craig — born in Shetland — studied film and politics at Aberdeen University.

During his student days he climbed Ben Nevis seven times in seven days.

He raised £32,000 for the bone marrow charity Anthony Nolan after his nephew was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. 

Craig is keen to encourage students and companies to sign up.

Craig added:

‘There are so many people out there with good skills.

‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for employers and employees.

‘For me, the feeling that I have to conceal my disability has gone.

‘It’s improved things all round in my career and my life.’

Craig said the scheme helped him feel more confident about being a disabled person in the workplace.

He has Borderline Personality Disorder, along with other conditions, and now feels comfortable talking about this with managers.

The scheme supports businesses to become more confident about disability by giving advice and guidance on how to support disabled employees and those with long-term health conditions.

Change100 has worked with some of the UK’s leading companies and employers including the BBC, Taylor Wimpey, Barclays, Skanska and Virgin Money.

Successful student applicants receive mentoring and guidance throughout their placements to support them to excel and thrive within the workplace.

Find out more about Change100 and how the programme can benefit students and companies.

Applications for Change100 are open now and close on 25 January 2017.

Media enquires

For media enquires please email Nick Bishop or call 012 0274 7100. Out of hours: 07903 949 388.