A training scheme to help new talent break into the TV and new media industry has achieved a 100 per cent employment rate for its first group of trainees.
Middlesex University’s Cascade programme gave participants paid placements at top independent production companies and all ten trainees on the scheme have secured employment at the end of the scheme with companies including the BBC, Flame TV, Endemol and Fresh One.
Often the only route into the highly competitive industry for new entrants is an unpaid internship, which rules out a large number of talented people who can’t afford to do this.
The six-month programme, run by the University in partnership with Top TV Academy, was designed to help underrepresented groups break into the television industry, giving them the right skills and experience to enhance their ability to find work.
Ten trainees were selected from over 400 applicants and spent the six months at nine of the UK’s leading TV and new media companies. They also attended industry-led workshops which included research skills, camera and editing and multiplatform production.
The scheme, part funded by Skillset’s Television Freelance Fund, has also allowed the trainees to develop contacts in the wider industry through mentoring, networking and attending high-profile events.
One of the companies involved in the scheme was Flame TV, producers of BBC’s Heir Hunters. Company chairman Roger Bolton said:
“Somehow we’ve got to inject much more resources into training. These sorts of schemes are invaluable, but I’d like to see them extended, and I’d like to see greater incentives for indies to take part in them.”
Helen Pratt, Head of Talent at Jamie Oliver’s production company, Fresh One said: “TV doesn’t necessarily represent everyone who’s out there and the only way to get different perspectives, new ideas and new ways of thinking in TV is to get different types of people to be involved.”
Cascade was led by Vivienne Francis from Middlesex University’s Media School. She said: “We set out to find and help develop talented young people with a passion for the creative industries. The fact that all of the trainees have had their contracts with their current companies extended or been offered positions elsewhere in the industry is a strong testimony to their hard work, but also the strong benefits of the scheme.”
Patrick Gillespie, originally from the Isle of Man, has been given a contract to work on forthcoming Channel 4/ Objective Production series Peep Show.
He said: “From where I’m from you don’t get opportunities like this. You never get to meet people like I’ve met and see the things I’ve seen working in TV, and this scheme has provided that opportunity.”
Cascade also supported a further 60 applicants who took part in workshops and coaching events.