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News / Internship scheme helps islander realise TV ambitions

Craig Smaaskjaer has found himself working full time in the TV industry.

A GRADUATE from Shetland has carved out a career in the television industry for himself – recently completing work on a BBC history documentary and going on to work for Channel 4’s hit show Child Genius.

Thirty eight year old Craig Smaaskjaer transformed his fortunes after taking on a paid internship through the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability and its Change100 scheme.

He took on the three-month internship earlier this year, which led to work as a researcher with TV production company Wall to Wall Media. It proved so successful that he landed a full-time job with the firm.

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, giving UK firms the chance to work with aspiring young people keen to give their all in the workplace.

Prior to joining Wall to Wall, Craig studied film and politics at Aberdeen University.

During his student days he climbed Ben Nevis seven times in seven days, raising a remarkable £32,000 for the bone marrow charity Anthony Nolan after his nephew James Hawick was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.

Craig said the Change100 scheme had helped him to 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 it with managers.

Applications are currently open and the next closing date is 25 January 2017. Craig said he would encourage students and companies to sign up to the scheme: “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.”

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