Pilot scheme to address under-representation of Black Asian Ethnic (BAME) groups in film industry hailed a ‘success’

Pilot scheme to address under-representation of Black Asian Ethnic (BAME) groups in film industry hailed a

Appeal for training providers to apply to run the scheme for 2008

A paid work placement pilot scheme to help people from BAME backgrounds 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, development executive and publicity assistant.

The initiative, which was set-up following a recent report* revealed – a mere 7% of the workforce in London’s audio visual industries were from black and ethnic minorities, compared to 35% of the overall population of inner London – called for training providers to apply to run the scheme for 2008; following the success of the 2006-07 Graduate Fellowship Programme (GFP) pilot scheme.

The 2006-7 GFP pilot scheme, delivered with European Union funds** earmarked for combating discrimination and inequalities in the labour market, saw graduates – or equivalent – from BAME backgrounds 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).

“The programme provided the perfect opportunity to work fulltime in film and TV development which was exactly what I had been working towards. I have developed a whole range of new skills and knowledge – from tracking of a range of film, TV and theatre talent, and supplying comprehensive notes on projects in active development to spotting and developing new ideas. It was a break-through opportunity and I am now working as script editor at Leopard Films,” David Chikwe said (development assistant placement at Ruby Films).

“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. Applicants interested in participating in the 2008 programme can visit www.skillset.org/film .

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