Mayor of London and industry leaders join forces to increase diversity

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and major industry leaders have teamed up to tackle the lack of diversity in the screen industries.   

Sony Pictures, HBO, STUDIOCANAL and Film4 are among the list of industry leading organisations that have joined the Mayor in pledging their support for Film London’s Equal Access Network, which aims to ensure the capital’s screen industries represent the city’s diversity.

The Mayor has also announced a £50,000 boost for the work of the Equal Access Network, to help more Londoners from under-represented backgrounds secure paid opportunities working in film and TV, and to encourage employers to take new approaches to recruiting a more diverse workforce.

Sadiq has committed new funding to enable Film London to grow the reach of the Equal Access Network. The ground-breaking Equal Access Network, launched in January, works to support talented individuals from underrepresented groups into paid roles in the industry and works with employers to improve their recruitment practices.

Figures from a report for the BFI demonstrate that just 3% of production personnel working in the UK film and screen industries are from minority ethnic backgrounds, whilst 20% are women and 5% identify as disabled. In a move to tackle the industry's startling lack of diversity, as well as the rising demand for skills, the Equal Access Network offers career support and bespoke advice to new starter, mid-level and returning employees.

This investment by the Mayor of London will enable the Equal Access Network to scale up its work, expanding on its success by recruiting more training providers and employers across London and helping to grow the network’s pool to 300 members, getting 180 people into paid work over the next year. The funding will also support an extensive programme of masterclasses, workshops, CV surgeries and mentoring schemes, ensuring that high quality training and skills opportunities go to people from under-represented backgrounds.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “From the actors and presenters we see on screen, to the directors, producers and script writers behind the scenes, it is vital that our film industry reflects our city. Londoners from all backgrounds should be able to see themselves and their stories on screen. By supporting the Film London Equal Access Network, we can encourage employers to improve recruitment processes and ensure all Londoners have access to the career opportunities the growing film industry provides. I’m delighted that some of the major film and TV companies are backing this initiative and I’d encourage others to follow suit.”

Backing the initiative, a host of major industry heavy-hitters have committed to supporting the Equal Access Network. Partners include:

  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Working Title Films
  • Film4
  • StudioCanal
  • ITV
  • Pathe
  • HBO
  • The Ink Factory
  • Two Brothers Pictures
  • Playground
  • Anton Corp
  • Objective Media Group
  • Altitude Film Entertainment
  • Bankside Films
  • SunnyMarch
  • Rocket Science
  • Michelle Kass Associates

These partners will each provide one or more of the following: paid internships for new starters from the talent pool; returnships for parents/caregivers re-entering the industry; speakers and mentors for masterclasses, learning and networking events; and a commitment to interview candidates from the network for all entry level and junior-level positions.

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission said: “London’s screen industries are a phenomenal global success and we are determined to ensure they stay that way. To maintain our world-beating position we must invest in a diverse creative workforce for the future, attracting the best and brightest talent from communities across the capital that truly reflect the city itself. At a time when there is much discussion about diversity and inclusion, I am delighted that both the Mayor of London and this incredible roster of such high calibre industry partners are working with us on the Equal Access Network to support and deliver a highly practical and pragmatic response, leading by example at the forefront of change. With such investment and commitment we are looking forward to securing more paid opportunities in film, TV and post-production than ever before.”

Alongside the Mayoral support, Film London has also been awarded funding by the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund to deliver a new, nationwide Returnship programme for the post-production and VFX sector for High End TV. Following the success of last year’s inaugural scheme, eight selected parents and carers who have had a career break and who are looking to return to work in the sector will be re-trained and assigned paid placements at leading companies including Milk VFX, The Farm, Molinare, DNEG, Blue Bolt, Outpost and Freefolk.

Since the launch of the Equal Access Network, the initiative has provided training and opportunities for over 250 participants with the network comprising 159 female members and 163 BAME. In addition to providing paid opportunities, the scheme has acted as a launch pad for participants, with alumni securing further paid work within the industry as a direct result of their membership of the network. Successes have included ongoing positions within The Ink Factory, Two Brothers, London Stock Exchange Group’s studios, Film London, Anton Corp and Michelle Kass Associates.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

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Mayor of London and industry leaders join forces to increase diversity