New HETV social mobility initiative First Break launches in Leeds and Salford

Coronation Street © ITV

A group of 150 people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds have been given the chance to learn about the basics of working in TV and hear first-hand about the variety of behind-the-camera jobs available in screen.

The first edition of First Break, the new social mobility initiative from ScreenSkills which is backed by ITV, launched in Leeds and Salford with two taster sessions in September.

Attendees, who were selected from more than 400 applications, learned about the job roles in television and about the work of ScreenSkills in supporting new entrants and the existing industry workforce.

One attendee praised the atmosphere of the event. “The round tables felt very informal and it was good to speak with industry professionals in person rather than through a screen,” they said. “Everyone talked honestly about the industry, the available jobs and the whole process of creation.”

Another participant agreed it was valuable to receive honest answers from industry professionals. “The chance to speak to people in the industry is basically non-existent without a scheme like this. I gained a lot of insight because I was able to ask candid questions.”

Following this general introduction, people were encouraged to apply for one of two follow-up bootcamps held in October 64 secured places. They were invited to attend the weekends in Salford and Leeds and learned about what it is like to work in television and about what is required to succeed when working in TV.

A bootcamp participant said: “It was great to receive the opportunity to attend a bootcamp at the Coronation Street studios and meet highly experienced industry professionals who delivered very informative and inspiring sessions on the working environment within the creative media sector.”

Another added: “The bootcamp helped me to see that I would enjoy the style of work and perspectives. It was also great to know more about the challenging side of the industry and to be aware of what to expect.”

To conclude the programme, 10 candidates will be offered three weeks paid work experience on Coronation Street and 10 will be offered a similar opportunity on Emmerdale. They will also receive further help with improving interview techniques, CV writing, self-promotion and job applications so that they can continue pursuing a career in screen.

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