UKTV and Film London’s Equal Access Network have unveiled a new collaborative initiative aimed at securing employment within the TV industry for underrepresented groups. UKTV’s All Voices initiative will give new entrants, mid-level professionals and returners to the industry the opportunity to work in paid, full-time roles on UKTV Original productions.
Each participant will be part of the initiative for up to 12 months, giving them the opportunity to work on multiple UKTV productions to increase their level of experience and help build their CV and network of contacts within the industry.
Richard Watsham, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning, said: “The quality of programmes we make and the way in which we serve our audiences can only be improved by having a greater mix of voices both in front of and behind the camera. The TV industry is often seen as being elitist and not representative of the breadth of society. UKTV’s All Voices initiative has been designed to help break down these barriers and ensure that UKTV Original productions are made by a diverse team of people who truly represent the world we live in.
“We are excited to work with Film London’s Equal Access Network to pilot this scheme which seeks to place upward of 12 people in essential roles at every level of UKTV Originals. It was important to me that we were able to offer opportunities not just to first timers, but also to those who are struggling to stay in the industry or are finding it hard to return. It’s essential that we get a greater diversity of voices at every level of the industry if we’re to safeguard it and make it relevant for future generations. My hope is that, if successful, we can roll out opportunities across all UKTV productions at a later date.”
Film London’s Equal Access Network, supported by the Mayor of London, seeks to help new entrants, mid-level and returners to get in, stay in and return to the TV and Film industry. In an effort to tackle the industry’s desire for inclusion, the Equal Access Network particularly focuses on under-represented groups and offers training and support to ensure employees have the greatest chance of building a meaningful amount of experience on which they can develop and build careers at every level.
Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “London is one of the world’s most diverse cities, as well as one of the best for film, TV and post-production. Through our Equal Access Network, we are committed to ensuring London’s screen industries reflect the city itself by helping people, particularly those from underrepresented groups, to access opportunities in the industry. We are delighted to be teaming up with UKTV to launch UKTV’s All Voices initiative to do just that and are excited to follow the achievements of the talented individuals we work with through our Equal Access Network.”
A number of production companies, including North One Television, Mercury Productions, Firecracker Films and Brown Bob Productions, have agreed to help pilot UKTV’s All Voices and will work with UKTV to provide individuals from Film London’s Equal Access Network pool a job on UKTV Original productions. The roles will be paid at standard industry rates and may cover all areas and levels within a production, from running to directing, executive producing to production management, and sound recording to production accounting. Nothing is off limits.
Throughout the year UKTV will also host events aimed at introducing production companies to potential employees, as well as offering insight into the industry and the workings of a broadcaster. Film London’s Equal Access Network will also run a series of masterclasses across multiple disciplines which employees will have access to.
There are also plans for graduates of the scheme to be mentored for a further 12 months by industry professionals and Film London’s Equal Access Network will continue to provide ongoing advice about opportunities, interviews and CVs.
UKTV’s All Voices initiative is launching now and joins UKTV’s successful apprenticeship scheme in opening the TV industry up to new talent. UKTV currently works with London tech start-up WhiteHat, to offer apprenticeships across the business, which run for 18 months, providing valuable first-hand experience working in TV. During this time, apprentices also work towards a qualification in areas such as Business Administration, Leadership Management (ILM), Digital Marketing and lots more.
UKTV is also committed to diversity within its Originals and Director of Commissioning, Richard Watsham, meets with all producers prior to starting any new production, to discuss how to maximise diversity on and off screen. In 2017, UKTV also launched The On-Screen & Off-Screen Diversity Capture Report which is part of UKTV’s commissioning delivery paperwork requirements that all production companies must read and complete. This report captures a range of diversity reporting that is regularly reviewed by UKTV’s Commissioning Diversity Steering Group to ensure minority groups are better represented both in front of and behind the camera.