In this series of articles we are catching up with former pupils of Smestow to see what they went on to achieve after leaving school. Here, we talk to Satnam Rana who was at Smestow from 1989 to 1995 and is now a familiar face as a news reporter on BBC Midlands Today…
“When I left school I went up to the M6 to Lancaster University to read French Studies/History. I spent four years at university with one of those years in France.
“In 1999, I graduated and headed back to Wolverhampton to earn some money andI ended up teaching French students English for four weeks. This made me enough money to head down to London to do some networking.
“I was determined to achieve my goal of working in the media and the BBC, and after some phone calls, I got my break. It was a visit to Television Centre and to BBC Radio 5 Live where a couple of alumni from my university worked.
“As a bold 21-year-old, I took the opportunity to drop off my CV. That was the start of my journey at the BBC.
“Now, some 17 years on, I have worked my way up from a Broadcast Assistant and Researcher at BBC Radio 5 Live to a Correspondent/Specialist Reporter for BBC Midlands Today – regional TV news.
“Along the way, I have worked on radio as a presenter, I have hosted the main regional TV news programme, I have hosted podcasts and filmed abroad as a self-shoot reporter. Off screen, I host events, do some public speaking, work in schools and do some guest lecturing.
“It’s a varied job both in and out of the BBC. I am currently splitting my time between BBC work and personal projects.
“My time at Smestow School was both enjoyable and crucial in shaping me. Firstly, the studying enabled me to take steps into further education.
“Secondly, taking part in wider school life equipped me with the confidence I need in my job.
“Thirdly and most importantly, if I had not approached a teacher about creating an audio version of the school newsletter and recording it at the BBC community radio studios in town (it was a town and not city when I was at school), I would not have developed the hunger for working in radio and TV.
“As I develop my career and look towards leadership roles, I remind myself of what it was like to be Head Girl. I may have left Smestow a long time ago but many of my experiences come back to me now and again.”