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