The BBC Academy and College of Journalism

In becoming Director of the BBC Academy, as well as bringing together all of training and development at the BBC for the first time (my first and most obvious task), I've been determined to use the creation of the Academy to raise our ambitions for training within the BBC and to be much more explicit and proactive about our role in training the industry. The announcements we have made this week indicate a willingness to look outwards and understand the skills gaps in the industry.

It is part of our public service mission to work with partners to foster a skilled, modern workforce, able to circulate through the industry. We are doing this against a background of many companies and broadcasters, under commercial pressure, cutting back on investment in training. What we can do, within the limits of fair trading, is to share some of the fantastic resources we have for the benefit of the wider industry by working in partnership with other broadcasters and institutions on areas of shared interest.

As change in the media world accelerates, training becomes ever more important. The Academy brings together centres of expertise in Journalism, Production, Leadership and Technology training to create a world-class development resource for our staff. However, with an increasingly mobile workforce it is in our interest that we should help support training outside the organisation as well as inside. In other words, our new initiatives are not inspired by charity but by enlightened self-interest!

The BBC College of Journalism website is a tremendous learning resource, with masterclasses from leading BBC journalists such as Evan Davis, John Humphrys, Robert Peston, Jenni Murray and Jeremy Vine, as well as craft skills, ethics and values, videos, audio files and interactive modules. We have now made it freely available to everyone in the UK and in the New Year it will be available by subscription abroad.

We are joining forces with Channel 4 to create the Diversity 2010 programme, which aims to increase understanding of diversity in the workplace and embed it in our future leadership. We are also collaborating with ITV to improve employability in the media industry for people with disabilities. By sharing best practice and enabling two-way placements, ITV will further develop its Enabling Talent disability programme and the BBC its award-winning Extend scheme.

With other partners we've developed a very successful model for Multiplatform Foundation training which we're rolling out within the BBC currently. Now, the Academy will share that model with other broadcasters and organisations including PACT, BECTU, and the Indie Training Fund. Finally, we will be delivering ideas development and pitching workshops for independent and in-house producers outside London to share best practice and help increase the number of commissions from the UK nations. The workshop was piloted successfully in Belfast and will be held in Cardiff and Glasgow in the New Year.

These new initiatives add to existing BBC schemes to train freelance talent and represent just the beginning - and we are confident there'll be many more initiatives to come as the Academy fulfils its potential. It's a very exciting journey we've all embarked on and the ambitions we have won't be achieved overnight, but I passionately believe in the importance of investing in the future talent of our industry.


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