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BBC journalist and presenter, Jeff Brown, shares his career journey as part of the North East Ambition Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot

One of the North East’s most familiar faces visited St Aloysius Primary School in Hebburn, Gateshead, to speak to students about his career as a journalist.

Jeff Brown, presenter of BBC Look North, shared his career journey with pupils as part of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s North East Ambition Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot, which aims to build careers aspiration and inspiration from an early age.

Jeff said: “It’s never too early for youngsters to think about what they want to do when they leave school, and the aim of going into places like St Aloysius is to show them anything is possible.

“I was lucky in having parents who couldn’t have done more to help me chase my dream of being a sports reporter, but it was only much later in life that I considered moving into television.”

Jeff’s first step on the career ladder was as a freelance reporter for the Sunderland Echo. He received his first byline at just 15 years old.

He then attended university before starting his working career in Birmingham, going on to achieve his ambition of working as a sports journalist. Jeff moved into radio before doing a screen test that led to his successful career in TV.

Jeff spoke to students about the importance of perseverance and really striving for the job and career you want. Early in his career he wrote more than 50 letters to newspapers applying for jobs.

He continued: “My dad had a great saying: ‘someone’s got to do it.’ Doesn’t matter what the position – Prime Minister, professional footballer, TV presenter – those jobs are there to be filled by someone. With hard work, determination and persistence, you can be anything you choose. And every child is good at something – it’s just a question of finding out what that something is.”

Jeff’s top tips to students interested in a career in journalism included reading and watching the news, and learning from experienced and respected journalists like Katya Adler, Europe Editor at the BBC.

He also stressed the importance of preparation. In his words, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

Jeff’s visit to St Aloysius Primary School was organised as part of the North East Ambition Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot, a careers education programme delivered by the North East LEP and EY Foundation to test how the eight Good Career Guidance Benchmarks, which form part of statutory guidance for secondary schools in England about how to deliver impactful and effective careers guidance, can be adapted for a primary school setting.

70 primary schools from across the North East are taking part in the pilot.

For more information about the North East Ambition Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot, visit