But as time went on, I was doing more and more without pay. It reached the point where it wasn’t work experience anymore. I knew that I should be paid for what I was doing but I felt nervous about raising the issue with my boss.
A friend thought joining a union might help and gave me the contact details for BECTU. That’s how I first met Siân, who sat down with me and helped me to write a letter to the manager of the company explaining why I felt I should be paid for what I was doing. I got a really good outcome from it – they agreed to pay me
After getting support from the union in a time of need, I realised that there were lots of training and career development opportunities available through BECTU.
When you don’t have work coming in you feel a bit low, like you’re not worth anything, but doing the courses made me feel better about myself and more confident about getting work. The courses were highly subsidised which made them affordable for me. I wouldn’t have been able to do them otherwise.
Since then, I’ve been able to get more paid work. I’m currently working as a Camera Assistant on a new Amazon Prime series, filming at Bay Studios in Swansea and in France.
I’ve worked on other TV series, including Hinterland and Doctor Who, which has been amazing – especially when we got to film inside the Tardis!
I’m really proud to be getting the paid work coming in now because I feel that I’m actually turning this into a fully-fledged career.
Because it’s a creative industry and the job is fun, people want to do it and unfortunately some people take advantage of that and expect people to work without pay. But being part of the union has given me the confidence to say “I deserve to be paid”. You see your own worth.
I think young workers in creative industries should definitely be part of the union. They always want to know what you’re interested in and are willing to help you with any problems or learning needs.