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Man: Recently, a whole pile of my clothes got chucked out after a flatmate mistook them for rubbish. I was so upset!
Woman: Oh no!
Man: Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that they held any particular significance for me or had any great value. It was the prospect of shopping for new stuff I couldn’t face! 
Woman: Tell me about it! Even if there’s, like, something I need to get, my trick is to put it off till the last possible moment, so I’ll have less chance to waste time on such a pointless activity.  Maybe that’s why people think our clothes are rubbish!
Man: Yeah. But what gets me is that I reckon for a lot of people the clothes aren’t the point. It’s more about the act of shopping. It’s heavily linked to wanting to be the centre of attention, to clothes giving them a strong personal identity or whatever. It’s basically a way of showing off.  Too much importance is placed on clothes and appearance, but it’s not, like, a political issue for me. It’s just a game I’m not prepared to play.
Woman: So was music in the blood, Max?
Man: Do you mean did my mum play the piano? Hardly! But I was well into the charts as a boy. In all honesty, I didn’t think that being number one was something completely unattainable.  I had a cockiness, but kept it hidden from my peers. I’d hear a hit record and think: ‘I could do that.’ From the age of fourteen I fired off loads of demo discs I made in my bedroom. I had a folder where I kept all the rejection letters I got from record labels. It might’ve helped to share that with somebody – but I didn’t. I just sulked, then had another go.
Woman: Then when you did get a contract …
Man: … I was vindicated. And it was a good deal in most respects too. Funny thing was though, if after my first hit I thought I’d made it, I was soon disabused of that notion. If I was to add up everything I’d done up till that point – school, working in a factory, learning the guitar, making the demos – it doesn’t compare. I’ve had to put in a lot of effort to capitalise on that breakthrough, I can tell you. 
Man: It’s really interesting because I didn’t dance when I was in Hong Kong. I didn’t pick up dance till I went to high school in the US, and that was probably, like, when I was 16 years old. Again, I didn’t do it consciously. It wasn’t, like, something that I was waiting to do. One time I danced in a culture show, and the dance director at my school, she asked: ‘Are you interested in really training? Like, you seem to have talent.’  And at that point, I was really not interested. I was an athlete, a three-season athlete. I was more interested in, like, hanging with the guys and doing what I was used to. But when I saw her perform, I was blown away and decided it was for me, and at college I majored in it. I trained classically. 
Woman: That’s so unlike my experience. I mean, I was dancing almost before I could walk and, although I wouldn’t say I was pressurised into it, my parents were like behind me every step of the way. So much so, that I was on the point of rebellion on more than one occasion – though I’m happy to say that particular storm never actually broke! 
Sally: Hi. My name’s Sally Nelson, and I’m a radio reporter specialising in current affairs. I’m here to tell you how useful work experience placements have been in my career.
Although I’m in my dream job now, at school I lacked ambition, and made a poor choice of university course. Some of my colleagues did subjects like Media Studies, which have a direct application to the work. Although my subject sounds relevant – it’s known as Communication Studies  – I think a degree in English and Drama would’ve been just as useful. My course centred on the sociological use of language rather than the media.
When I graduated, I took the first job I was offered. I’d always been interested in music and clubbing and had considered training as a DJ, and I soon realised being a marketing assistant was too far away from this . My friends had more interesting jobs than me; one was even working as a manager for a rock band. So I quit the job and rang another friend who was a radio presenter in Brighton.
I organised to sit in on his show for a few days, which was a bit cheeky of me, and although I was intimidated for the first couple of hours, it was actually a very relaxed sort of place . And it gave me exactly the sort of insight I needed to confirm that radio was for me.
So, I approached the boss of the station. He immediately offered me a place on the station’s Trainee Scheme, it’s a bit like a work experience scheme really and involved spending two days a week working unpaid at the station.  To fund myself, I did waitressing jobs the rest of the week.
The station’s a small company, so the work was varied and very hands on. I got to do traffic reports on air, which was fun, background research about musicians, which was more interesting than I expected, and even once or twice conducted live interviews. I got the biggest buzz of all from that.  In this industry you have to network, and that’s why work experience, however short the placement, is so important. I met people in Brighton who really opened doors for me. One colleague said technical training would help my job prospects, and told me about a journalism course which you can do in the evening.  At twenty-five, I was much older than my fellow students but I was very focused, and it stood me in good stead.
Thanks to someone I met on that course, I got another work experience placement, this time with a larger national broadcasting company. I worked for six months unpaid there. I was taken on to work on the sports desk, but soon got transferred to the news desk where I worked out the rest of my placement , with occasional days on the travel desk. Although I was on a steep learning curve, it was fantastic from day one.
Working for free was exhausting because I had to hold down other jobs to keep myself. If I had to say what the main benefit of work experience was, I’d say it gives you flexibility . You learn on the job and make mistakes without feeling that you’re about to get sacked, and that’s just as important for your confidence and employability as any number of qualifications.