ITV has signed up as the first partner in First Break, a new social mobility initiative from the skills body ScreenSkills to demystify the TV industry and create pathways in for people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Recognised for its strong commitment to community engagement, ITV will offer placements to successful candidates on both Coronation Street and Emmerdale at the conclusion of the initiative, which is a match-funded collaboration with ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund.
First Break is expected to commence in September. More information on the application process will be shared in August.
The programme will start by giving 100 candidates the chance to attend an Open Doors taster event to learn the basics of working in TV and hear first-hand about the variety and scale of jobs available in the industry. Recruitment will target individuals aged 18+ who may have studied BTECs or NVQs in further education, be career-changers, low-waged or unemployed.
Participants will then be invited to apply for 40 places on a two-day boot camp to learn more. The boot camp will include what to expect from a job in TV, information on broadcasters and major indies, departments and chains of command, set etiquette, a studio tour and hands-on workshops in skills such as handling kit or in make-up.
The final round will see 10 candidates selected for five days of paid full-time job shadowing on both ITV continuing dramas. The days will be spread across technical, creative/practical, organisational and ideas-related departments. These preferences have been identified to avoid intimidating candidates with job titles or grades at too early a stage.
Travel expenses will be paid and all candidates, who must have been living in the UK for at least a year to qualify, will be also offered a mentor.
Kaye Elliott, ScreenSkills’ Director of High-end Television, said: “First Break is aimed at encouraging, nurturing and supporting people to consider a career in television and give them the tools, knowledge and taster experience to take their first steps in.
“We believe it will be a practical way of making TV more accessible to those without contacts, opening the industry up to people whose life experiences are not currently widely reflected in the television workforce.”
Trish Brady, Head of HR, ITV Studios UK, said: “ITV has made a public commitment to improve society representation on screen, as well as increase diversity and inclusivity behind the scenes. Partnering with ScreenSkills on this important initiative is key to helping us get closer to ensuring our workforce represents our audience, it's a big goal but one we hope 'First Break' will help us get even closer to fulfilling.”
ScreenSkills expects to announce further First Break partnerships shortly. This is a rolling programme. Broadcasters and producers can express their interest at any point throughout the year.