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The BBC North Recruitment drive continues

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Peter Salmon Peter Salmon | 16:12 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

MediaCity site.jpgAs the buildings at our new home on the banks of Salford Quays get ever closer to completion, the important matter of who we fill them with gets more and more pressing.
The move to BBC North will result in the largest single recruitment drive in the history of the BBC.

In the coming years we will be looking to recruit over 500 people from entry level to the most senior to work in areas as diverse as BBC Sport, Children's, Radio 5 live., Learning and Future Media and Technology. It really is a Herculean task - but one that brings with it a very rare opportunity.

A chance to help the BBC change its DNA.

I have said before that BBC North is an experiment in creativity and collaboration - and fundamental to our success will be the team that we recruit, both from inside the BBC where there are many staff whose current jobs aren't moving but are still keen to be part of our journey, and crucially from outside the organisation as well.

The process has already been a hard one, and we will be losing some very talented individuals who have decided not to make the move. This disruption and heartache for so many puts even more emphasis on the need for us to get it right and ensure our new workforce produce world class content and services in new and ambitious ways to strengthen our relationship with audiences across the UK. It's a big challenge, but one that we are ready to take on.

We want to open up the BBC to people who previously had neither the opportunity nor likelihood of working here - who have perhaps assumed that the BBC wouldn't be interested in them. We want to be better at celebrating diversity, to actively encourage difference, to hear unfamiliar accents and voices and to be challenged. And that means we need a renewed focus on values and behaviours as much as on CVs. We are looking for people  full of original thinking, open to new ideas, who take ownership and responsibility, have a can do attitude and who are focussed on engaging with audiences and communities.

Let me be very clear - this is not box ticking or political correctness by another name, it is very simply about making sure we recruit the right person for every role.

So we will be looking for experience and potential. People who have spent their careers in media and people who have barely even considered it before. People from our own backyard, and talent from across the UK.

It is only by recruiting this unique mix that we will be able to deliver our ambitions. And to make this possible, we need to spread our net wide and be very proactive.

We can't wait for good people to come to us, we must go to them. So we are splitting our recruitment focus between the specialisms we know we will need and the communities and groups that traditionally don't see the BBC as an obvious career.

You will see our adverts in the Media Guardian and on CWjobs.com, but you will also see us on YouTube on regional media websites like How Do and events across the north. Looking for people whose fresh ideas will have an immediate impact but also that can be nurtured and trained for the future.  

To deal with such a high number of roles, we have changed our recruitment process to make it simpler and more efficient for candidates and for hiring managers.

BBC jobs always get a healthy number of applications, and with the new online system boasting a range of exciting opportunities to a hungry jobs market - we expect demand to be very high. Make no mistake, securing an opportunity is bound to be tough. 

Only a modest number of those people who register interest will get through, indeed the new online assessment will rule out some candidates early on in the process so that we have a manageable number of applicants, but it is important to remember this chance is not a one-off.

We are planting our feet in the north for the long haul so recruitment and opportunity will become a way of life for the BBC in the north of England.

We have already begun outreach and training schemes to start preparing the ground across the region. The Media Foundation Placement scheme, The Mentor Project and Apprenticeship Scheme have all begun to make inroads in helping make the BBC and with it the wider media sector, more accessible.  We want to deliberately increase the number of flexible contracts we offer to help create a more fluid workforce.

We want to help build careers for people across the northern media sector and to develop the depth and range of the talent pool in the region. No longer will opportunities be restricted to those that can or must move to the capital to work in media. All roads will not lead to London.

BBC North should be one of the stamps that you want on your career passport. A place that helps you express yourself, develop with some of the best training in the industry and acquire and share knowledge.

But it should also be a springboard to other things.

Some people have expressed concerns that the scale of recruitment could be a talent drain on the north. I actually think we can be a talent irrigator, providing the media landscape with well trained and ambitious journalists, technologists, content makers, production managers and writers, growing and developing on the landscape that is already there. It ought to become a breeding ground for great new talent, a finishing school for rough diamonds and a place that everyone in the media recognises as fresh, collaborative and open to new ideas.

None of this is going to be easy, and things are not going to change overnight. But I believe that if we can get our talent mix right, then by 2015 we will have a workforce and a sector that is a creative engine for the whole UK and which will be good for the region and for the BBC. Exciting times ahead.

To apply for opportunities at BBC North go to www.bbc.co.uk/jobs/north

Peter Salmon is Director of BBC North


  • Comment number 1.

    How many jobs 'down-south' in London are being lost to this move 'up-north'?

  • Comment number 2.

    The BBC is paid for by the whole UK and as such it should both represent and economically benefit the whole UK as well. As part of the BBC's wider commitment to making 50% of network production outside of the south east by 2016 around 1,500 roles will relocate from London to Salford Quays.
    All staff whose roles are relocating have been given the opportunity to relocate with them, and indeed almost half have chosen to make the move to the north of England, a high figure for this kind of significant change. This does mean that some very able staff will be leaving the teams from BBC sport, Children's, FM&T and others that are moving to Salford Quays, but we are working hard to redeploy them into other parts of the BBC and also to provide them with support and training for the next stage in their career whether that be inside or outside of the BBC.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    2. At 4:40pm on 01 Jun 2010, Peter Salmon wrote:

    "All staff whose roles are relocating have been given the opportunity to relocate with them, and indeed almost half have chosen to make the move to the north of England, a high figure for this kind of significant change. This does mean that some very able staff will be leaving the teams from BBC sport, Children's, FM&T and others that are moving to Salford Quays, but we are working hard to redeploy them into other parts of the BBC and also to provide them with support and training for the next stage in their career whether that be inside or outside of the BBC."

    So that is basically an admission that either the BBC total staff numbers will be expanding greatly due to this move 'up-north' or that many people are being made redundant, through no fault of their own as not everyone can even contemplate such a move, many will have families that naturally have to come first in their considerations.

    What are the cost vs. savings of this move for us who finance the BBC via the TVL fee, if there any published figures and if so where can they be found on-line please?

  • Comment number 5.

    My previous humorous comment has been moderated. Nice lack of a sense of humour.

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with Colin in point #3.

    The BBC 6 Music output from Manchester is excellent, and helps to give the perception that it is a national radio station, not a London one. Marc Riley's show has a live band every evening, so having the show based here allows musicians to travel from all the parts of the country much more easily (e.g. Scotland).

    I would hope that when the BBC Trust consider the future of 6 Music they look at more broadcasting of content from the North!

  • Comment number 7.

    I have now had an email from the moderators that my comment was off-topic.

    It directly quoted from the blog itself
    'BBC North should be one of the stamps that you want on your career passport'

    to which I commented
    ... hmm think that still makes it sound like a hardship posting.

    To elaborate so that it may be understood without confusion, it is clear that the BBC is commendably trying to avoid the potential increasing London-centric bias in the media. If a BBC centre in Manchester is to be successful in this, it needs to create the network effect that London has. This is not achieved by making the centre a temporary posting; people need to make their working lives there.

    Given the extensive heritage in popular music in the North - the contributions (in no particular order) from Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield amongst others are immense, moving to the North a station like 6Music that champions new music like no other would make good cultural sense. And a goodly quotient of their presenters are Northerners....

  • Comment number 8.

    Although, I would like to work for the BBC, I am discouraged by the long, drawn-out application process. You say that it's not box-ticking political correctness, but why ask me what work I've done in certain disadvantaged "communities" (as if they all live together)? I want to be a radio technician, not a social worker.

    If the BBC is going to move north, it had better learn that all that media luvvieness will not go down well in Manchester.

  • Comment number 9.

    Gone very quite in here, people on holiday or something, will there be a reply to the costings question I asked at #4?

  • Comment number 10.

    Can you explain why my comment at #6 has been removed please?

  • Comment number 11.

    Time to respond to a few of the queries here I think.

    Firstly Boilerplated, if you think my trip to hot and sunny South Africa to supervise the installation of the 'presenter chair lift' is a holiday you're very much mistaken. Then there's the infrastructure testing to do. I'm writing this from while testing out the BBC Staff Hotel. We can't leave anything to chance so I'm here, with my family, checking that such things as room service, the sports facilities and the restaurant and bar work properly prior to the arrival of 35,000 members of our key backroom staff.

    To Cookingwith7, you've made some very good points about the costings of the BBC Manchester Moonbase and we will, in the fullness of time, answer those questions in a vague and highly evasive way. Please bear with us while we redact anything newsworthy from the report.

    Let me just remind you all that the move to Salford is not some crazy management excuse to pretend that we're engaging with communities outside of London's West End. Nor is it another chance to show how good we are at keeping projects within budget. Yes, there may be redundancies and hardships as some staff have to relocate 200 miles north, but this will be an excellent opportunity to get rid of some of the talent we currently have and replace it with regional workers on much lower salaries, thus ensuring more money to make really quite excellent content like 'WAGs In Space', 'Laughing at people in A&E' and 'Blood, Sweat and Trouser Presses'.

    Finally, in response to comment number 14, it is highly cynical to question why no members of the BBC Executive are moving to Salford. You're a very naughty boy.

  • Comment number 12.

    The silence from the BBC is deafening...

  • Comment number 13.

    Watching the tumbleweeds roll by as I'm waiting to hear what "further consideration" is ...

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi boilerplated,
    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.
    Firstly, it's important to recognise that this move is not motivated by efficiencies alone. Our decision to relocate is about helping to build a BBC that better reflects our audiences across the whole UK for all licence fee payers and to begin better spreading the economic benefits of the licence fee outside London
    Of course there are investment costs involved in this move , and they total around £150 million.
    But, this investment will be recouped over 20 years by the savings we will make operating from MediaCityUK including lower overheads, leasing studio space, working in the most energy efficient buildings as well as saving on London operating costs and the sale of old buildings like Oxford Road in central Manchester. It is also one of our objectives to trial new and more efficient ways of working, that we will hopefully be able to share with the wider BBC.
    With such a lot going on in the project I want to keep as many people as possible informed about our progress, so look out for future blog posts from me soon.


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