Film industry diversity programme pays dividends with new jobs for graduates

Film industry diversity programme pays dividends with new jobs for graduates

A paid work placement pilot scheme to help people from black and ethnic minorities find creative jobs in the film industry has been a success with more than half of the graduate placements securing employment in a number of roles such as script editor and publicity assistant – the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries – recently revealed.

Based on the success of the 2006-07 Graduate Fellowship Programme (GFP) pilot scheme, Skillset this week called for training providers to apply to run the scheme for 2008.

The scheme, delivered with European Union funds* earmarked for combating discrimination and inequalities in the labour market, saw graduates – or equivalent – from black and ethnic minorities placed with leading companies in the UK film industry for paid work placements of up to 12 months.

Skillset received more than 300 applications with four men and six women selected. The paid placements covered media law, film financing, producing, accounts, development, marketing and public relations.

The candidates had to demonstrate a passion and commitment to work in the film industry. Eighty per cent of placements had contracts renewed.

The host companies included leading literary and media agency Curtis Brown, Pathe Distribution, Premier PR (incorporating McDonald & Rutter), Material Entertainment, Revolution Films, Ruby Films, Warp X, Vertigo Films, and Recorded Picture Company.

Skillset Director of Film Janine Marmot said: “The Graduate Fellowship Scheme has been hugely successful and we have been lobbied by the host companies and trainees to run the scheme again. A mark of the scheme’s success is that so many of the participants have been offered professional work in the industry.”

She added: “Skillset is delighted to give the green light for another scheme in 2008. This is a really smart scheme which matches skills shortages with great talent from diverse backgrounds. This will ensure our industry is more representative of society and, ultimately, more competitive on a global scale where diversity and plurality of voice, opinion and point of view will give the UK a decisive edge in taking our stories to the world.”

Quotes from 2006-07 Skillset Graduate Fellowship Programme placements:

“I was never treated like a trainee and was given a lot of responsibility from the start. The learning experience was huge – from setting up screenings, working with press and media, arranging interviews and film premieres, attending client meetings and even talent handling! To top it all off, I was offered a permanent job after the placement. It has been a life-changing experience – my dreams have come true,” Suhan Razzaque said (publicity assistant placement at Premier PR incorporating McDonald and Rutter).

“As well as being able to use my existing skills to contribute creatively through script reports and development meetings, I have had the opportunity to gain those all-important business skills – how to make a successful application for development funding, how to read contracts and how to write a cost report,” Selina Ukwuoma said (development executive placement at Curtis Brown).

For training providers seeking more information about the 2008 Skillset Graduate Fellowship Programme please e-mail saraht@skillset.org; or visit www.skillset.org/film.

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