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As BBC One’s The Apprentice 2014 comes to a close with Sir Alan choosing his new partner, Mark Wright, BBC Academy’s Head of Operations and Development, Entry Level Talent Schemes, Simon Broad, reflects on apprentices across the BBC.


By Simon Broad



Tuesday, December 23, 2014.


Mark Wright may have won Lord Sugar’s approval to become the nation’s most famous apprentice on Sunday, but 2014 has also been a great year for dozens of bright and talented people just starting their careers in the broadcasting industry.

The BBC has been working hard this year to make sure it seeks out the brightest talent from as broad and diverse range of backgrounds as possible. That means encouraging more people from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds, and from homes with no tradition of university education, to come and work with us.


Eighteen months ago there were just 37 non-graduate apprentices working at the BBC. Today there are 177 apprentices working in journalism, TV production, technology and business roles.


That's 140 more than when Tony Hall took up post as director general in late 2012, calling for apprentices to constitute 1% of the BBC's workforce by the end of the current BBC charter.


The target has been met two years ahead of schedule, and along with the 182 graduate trainees who started here in November, it means trainees and apprentices now constitute 2% of the BBC’s workforce.


Apprentices and trainees are now to be found in BBC radio studios, on TV shoots and strategy meetings up and down the country.


Early in 2014 we launched a new apprenticeship scheme across local radio, giving an opportunity to 46 young people to work for their local BBC – in their home town. It’s a big change from the past, where only those who could afford to ‘up-sticks’ and move to London or the other big BBC regional centres could find entry level opportunities at the BBC.


Another innovative scheme launched this year has seen the BBC working with Job Centre Plus and The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to identify unemployed but talented and passionate young people from BAME backgrounds, and give them three months of special training with the aim of helping them get their foot on the ladder in broadcasting.


The scheme has led to a number of the trainees making it on to our year-long Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship scheme, and helped others secure contracts in jobs at the BBC as runners, IT coordinators and researchers.


All this is helping to level the playing field, and it’s the principal reason that 47% of our intake on current TV Production Apprenticeship scheme are from BAME backgrounds.


Breaking into the broadcasting industry can be tough, and it’s even tougher if you haven’t been to university or had the opportunity to undertake work experience.

But the BBC genuinely feels like a different place compared to 18 months ago thanks to our very rapid influx of enthusiastic, bright and talented apprentices who are now a feature of studios and offices in all parts of the corporation.


Simon Broad is BBC Academy Head of Operations and Development, Entry Level Talent Schemes


The BBC: We Want to Recruit More Apprentices from Black Britain and other Minority Group

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