I interviewed Sky Sports News presenter Arron Armstrong for The Edit, a career’s newsletter at Queen’s University Belfast. We discussed his education and the steps he took to achieve his job at Sky.
Why did you choose to study Politics and how has your degree impacted your career?
“I chose Politics because it was my favourite subject at A-Level and it seemed like an interesting degree, especially at Queen’s during the mid-90s. The Politics department at Queen’s had, and still has a great reputation so it made sense to choose it. I graduated with a 2:1, so that number has probably been as beneficial as the actual degree. A degree in politics doesn’t qualify you for anything in particular but provides lots of options. I don’t remember my degree being a deciding factor in getting a particular job, but it gave me a more rounded view of the world and provided me with skills I still use today.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
“I really enjoy the variety of work, breaking news could come through at any moment so you don’t know exactly what you’ll be reporting on day to day or who you’ll be interviewing about a topical story. I get to meet lots of interesting people, fellow broadcasters and famous names from various sports. Reporting on sports I’m passionate about makes the job so much easier, plus not having to work too many hours a week!”
How did you get involved in media and how can Arts, Humanities and Social Science students gain more experience of the sector?
“Following my time at Queen’s I did a post grad in broadcast journalism at London College of Communication. This gave me the chance to get lots of unpaid work experience before getting jobs at TV3, BBC, IMG, Eurosport and Sky in a variety of freelance and staff roles. Work experience (or placements) is the best way to get involved in media and the more you get, the better. It’s a very competitive industry and many jobs don’t pay that well, so AHSS students should know that it probably won’t make them rich.”
What is your advice to AHSS students who are unsure of what career to follow?
“My advice is to try out as many things as possible and get plenty of work experience, ideally while you are still at Queen’s. Be proactive when on work experience, be someone who provides solutions, who can add value and then a placement could lead to a permanent job. You’re not owed a living so don’t expect a career to materialise for you if you haven’t worked for it. The penny only dropped for me when I was 25 and still hadn’t done anything worthwhile. I was playing catch up after that.”
Find Arron on Twitter at @arronarmstrong