Support for the creative economy

Supplementary written evidence submitted by Channel 4 [SCE 071a]

Channel 4’s investment in skills and talent development

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee asked Channel 4 to provide further information on two aspects of its evidence relating to industry training and skills. The briefing note below outlines examples from our own experience of ‘red-tape’ that may potentially hinder further industry investment in skills and development initiatives, as well as the schemes that we run across the UK to develop creative talent.

As a publisher-broadcaster with a remit to nurture talent, Channel 4 has a unique role in supporting emerging and established creative talent, both amongst its own employees and across the wider industry. This includes its own award-winning internal programmes run through 4Talent, which offers work experience placements, apprenticeships, workshops and master classes to people looking to gain entry into the creative industries, alongside funding and support for external skills bodies such as Creative Skillset and the National Film and Television School. We also work closely with our creative suppliers, many of whom are small and emerging businesses, to encourage them to offer their own training and skills programmes.

Encouraging smaller companies to invest in skills

Channel 4 has tended to focus in the past on developing its own training and development schemes and funding them itself, but recognises that this is not always an option for smaller companies of the kind that Channel 4 works with. We therefore encouraged the Committee to consider ways in which smaller companies can be incentivised and helped to invest in this area.

Larger organisations have a role to play here; for example Channel 4 has collaborated with smaller creative companies to enable them to offer training and development, most recently funding an apprenticeship placement within online youth broadcaster SBTV. In its written evidence to the Select Committee, Channel 4 noted that "limiting the red-tape involved in setting up and joining apprenticeships and work experience schemes" could also help incentivise smaller organisations to invest more in skills and training development. Examples from Channel 4’s own experience include:

·  Work Experience Kitemarks

Some existing kite-marks for work experience schemes, such as the Quality Mark scheme managed by the National Council for Work Experience, required an extensive, and costly, evaluation process. This led to only a small number of organisations, all multi-national companies, applying. While this scheme in particular closed in 2012, Channel 4 believes that it is important that any future accreditation schemes are conscious of the need to not be overly onerous on the companies applying.

· Apprenticeship funding

Channel 4 runs its own apprenticeship scheme and recognises the value of training and developing young people in this way. Channel 4 currently funds all of the apprenticeship schemes it runs itself-however it recognises that this may not be an option for other companies. It is therefore helpful that public support for apprenticeships is available via agencies such as the Skills Funding Agency, the National Apprenticeship Service and local organisations- but Channel 4 would note that the process for accessing this funding can at times be time-consuming, potentially deterring companies from applying.

Skills development across the UK

In Channel 4’s oral evidence session, we were asked to expand on the training and development opportunities given to people outside of London. Channel 4 is a major investor in the regional creative industries of the UK, investing £157m on production companies based outside London in 2012. This work is supported by a range of training and skills schemes Channel 4 operates with its creative partners both in London and across the nations and regions of the UK. These are aimed at bringing new entrants into the industry and supporting their development as they build their careers. These schemes are outlined in further detail below.

Beyond the specific schemes and initiatives offered by Channel 4, the creative partners we work with also provide opportunities to young people wanting to gain entry into the industry. In Liverpool, for example, Lime Pictures, who produce Hollyoaks for Channel 4, offer a range of apprenticeships and work placement opportunities.

· Channel 4 schemes based at Channel 4’s London headquarters

· 4Talent Apprenticeship Scheme: Successful individuals work in one of Channel 4’s departments for 12 months as part of this scheme, gaining qualifications and earning a salary in the process.

· 4Talent Internship Scheme: Channel 4 also offers 12-month internships across a range of departments, including a competitive salary and career support.

· 4Talent Work Experience Scheme: Channel 4 offered 140 work experience placements in 2012 across its organisation, for one or two weeks.

· Channel 4 schemes based in companies across the UK

· Channel 4’s Production Training Programme: Individuals take part in a 12-month training programme at one Channel 4’s suppliers, with positions including trainee researcher, trainee co-ordinator, and trainee junior developer. Six places are available specifically for disabled applicants. Companies offering these places are located across the country-for example last year placements were offered with Raise The Roof in Glasgow and Waddell Media in Belfast.

· Channel 4 Investigative Journalism Programme: Journalists are given the opportunity to work within a production company and develop ideas for Dispatches, Channel 4’s award-winning current affairs programme. In the first year of the scheme placements were offered in production companies based in London and Glasgow.

· Channel 4 Fuel4 Producer Placement programme: to encourage greater collaboration and expertise between digital and television sectors, this scheme paid for TV producers to work in digital companies as producers and digital executives to work in TV companies. Placements were offered in companies based in London, Oxford, Brighton and the West Midlands.

· 4Talent Open Days

· As part of its commitment to social mobility, and recognising that the creative industries as a whole remain under-representative of some social groups, in 2012 Channel 4 set out to widen the groups of young people it was reaching through its 4Talent arm. This has involved actively seeking to attract people from all educational and employment backgrounds by venturing outside of the traditional media ‘hubs’. Over the last year 4Talent open days have visited smaller UK towns that aren’t seen as significant production centres and which other media organisations rarely visit- including Derry, Barnsley, Penzance and Dundee. Of the attendees, 61% said neither of their parents went to university, and 18% had received income support growing up.

· In 2013, Channel 4 will increase the number of open days it runs to a total of 12. These will be held in the following locations: London, York, Falmouth, Llandudno, Sunderland, Lincoln, Preston, Aberdeen, Norwich, Derry and Eastbourne. While we are conscious that with limited resources we cannot visit every location in the UK, we will continue to identify other areas that could benefit from these sessions and that other media organisations are not targeting, and will work with local charities and universities to promote these days to encourage as many young people to attend as possible.

April 2013

Prepared 24th May 2013