On the 23rd of October, Leeds Trinity was graced with the presence of yet another celebrity, this time one of its alumni. A man who graduated when I was a toddler, it’s hard to believe how far he’s come. Shaun Keaveny may not ring any bells among our younger students, but he is BBC Radio 6’s breakfast show presenter, a station known for its pull on the attention of twenty-somethings. The auditorium gradually filled with a good handful of media and journalism students, and another handful of overly excited members of staff, tittering away at the sweet wisdom Shaun was bound to bestow upon them.
Straight away you could tell he was a character, cracking jokes at every opportunity and soothing the room with that distinctive radio voice. As well as being a BBC personality, he’s also written a book – R2-D2 Lives in Preston - a wonderfully optimistic book that highlights all the wonderful things about the not so wonderfully-represented towns and cities across the UK. I’ve read it, it’s good, and if it’s not in the AKLC yet, I shall protest that it should be.
After a quick ice-breaking song accompanied by guitarlele, Shaun introduced himself modestly but charismatically, obviously humbled by how eager Leeds Trinity's students were to find out how he made such a success of his career. So he started from the beginning and reminisced about his time at the uni, and how much it has changed since then, and progressed through the various stages of his life, good and bad. I found it interesting that he had lived in Burley Park, in the ‘squalid conditions’ that so many of us still find ourselves surrounded by today. He managed though and learnt a fair few lessons on his way to BBC fame.
When it comes to work, he had five main tips for everyone wanting to work their way up in the media industry, but really it can apply to anyone:
- Make yourself invaluable
- Don’t moan
- Remind yourself daily that even if you’re doing something you don’t enjoy, you’re getting a toe in the door that will lead to bigger and brighter things
- Take advantage of work experience opportunities because you learn so much more on the job than you do behind a desk
- DON’T GET SACKED
Considering how far Shaun has come, I’d say he’s worth listening to, even if that means biting your tongue through catalogue work and consoling visitors at your local Citizens Advice Bureau. If you have a goal, and a vague idea as to how you’re going to achieve it, you’ll get there. I know ‘cause Shaun says so.