BBC, Channel 4 and Creative Skillset’s Open Channels secures £5m co-investment to build future creative talent

This project proposes to make the BBC's training and associated resources available more widely across the broadcast supply chain - focusing on key industry skills gaps and making it more affordable for SMEs to invest in the diverse new talent needed to drive innovation and growth.”Anne Morrison, Director, BBC Academy
Date: 20.11.2012     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.03
Category: Corporate
Joint press release: Open Channels is an innovative and unprecedented partnership between the BBC, Channel 4 and Creative Skillset, to create a new 'end to end' programme of training, work placements, internships and Apprenticeships to support recruitment into production and technology roles in the broadcast TV sector.

The programme, with £5m co-investment from the Employer Ownership Skills Pilot, will help break the cycle of closed recruitment and ad hoc entry level training to attract a more diverse range of young people entering and working in skill shortage roles. Channel 4, the BBC Academy and Creative Skillset are committed to working together and, importantly, to working with SME independent production companies and others in the broadcasting supply chain.

The announcement of the successful bid came as BIS Minister of Skills Matthew Hancock launched the second round of the Employer Ownership Skills Pilot.

He said: “I am also delighted to announce today that Channel 4 and the BBC have been successful in their joint round one bid with Creative Skillset to attract a more diverse range of young people into production and creative technology.

“The Employer Ownership Pilot is not only strengthening individual businesses. It is showing us new ways to make sure the whole of the UK economy has the skills it needs to compete in the global race.”

The BBC and Channel 4 both have strong backgrounds in hiring new talent and training and development. The Open Channels programme will play to the different but complementary strengths of these two broadcasters, harnessing their reputations for both high quality programming and innovation.

Part of Channel 4's remit will be to focus on an outreach programme aimed at young people who previously may never have felt that a career in broadcasting was for them. The programme will offer a pre-apprenticeship online learning platform and provide links and referrals to the BBC's training programmes. Sixty interns will be selected from those who undergo online learning and these will be placed in new, emergent SMEs across the regions.

The BBC will deliver a gold standard Technology Programme which, over five years, will produce 100+ Level 5/6 Apprentices and 60 technology trainees. The BBC will also 'over-hire' new higher level production apprentices on behalf of the broadcasting supply chain, creating more structured, high quality career pathways in areas where there are critical skills shortages, making it easier and cheaper for smaller companies to invest in the new talent needed for growth.

The partnership is pivotal to Creative Skillset's TV Content Strategy in addressing the urgent skill shortage roles in TV production and broadcast technology. Open Channels will change the mindset of recruitment across the industry from ad hoc to structured, from 'who you know' to open selection.  This will attract a larger and more diverse talent pool within the sector addressing both diversity and social media issues and create a better regional spread of skills.

Diane Herbert, Director of Human Resources, Channel 4, said: "We are incredibly passionate about providing work-related initiatives for people who want to pursue a career in the media industry, regardless of experience or background. Channel 4 is a major supporter of Creative Skillset and we are excited to be part of this ground-breaking partnership which builds on our record for innovation and outreach to help nurture and develop the next generation of talent in the industry.”

Anne Morrison, Director, BBC Academy and Chair of Creative Skillset TV & Content Strategy Group, said: “This project proposes to make the BBC's training and associated resources available more widely across the broadcast supply chain - focusing on key industry skills gaps and making it more affordable for SMEs to invest in the diverse new talent needed to drive innovation and growth.”

Dinah Caine OBE, Chief Executive of Creative Skillset, commented: "Open Channels represents a watershed moment bringing together the BBC, Channel 4 and Creative Skillset taking forward key priorities from our TV Content Strategy. We are delighted to be part of this important partnership, which addresses fair access and, amongst other things, supports independent production companies in hosting trained interns and apprentices."

For more information contac: Creative Skillset press on 020 7713 9800 or press@creativeskillset.org

Notes to Editors

The Open Channels programme will include:

  • A world class technology programme to create the next generation of talent for the broadcasting industry through higher level production Apprenticeships and traineeships
  • BBC over-hiring technology and production talent on behalf of other companies in the broadcasting industry
  • New open platform and showcasing arrangements reaching at least 2,000 individuals
  • Open4 ‘talent’ days with direct outreach opportunities for 2,400 individuals
  • 360 short work experience opportunities
  • Open4 bootcamps, each with up to 10 participants and bootcamps for production Apprentices
  • New online selection tool