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Channel 4 launches major new commitment to skills, training and development in the creative industries with 4Skills


Channel 4 launched 4Skills its new training and development initiative which will supercharge its efforts to seek out and develop talent in the Nations and Regions.

To mark the first anniversary of the opening of its National HQ in Leeds, Channel 4 unveiled details of 4Skills, a key part of its 4 All the UK vision.

This on-going programme is focussed on finding and nurturing talent from the Nations and Regions with the aim of attracting people into broadcasting and production from diverse backgrounds. 4Skills will address skills gaps and also play a key role in progressing the careers of those already in the industry.

4Skills will reach out to people of all ages and from all sorts of backgrounds including school children; young people wanting to break into broadcasting; those seeking to take their careers in the industry to the next level; and people who might never have even thought about working in broadcasting.

Sinead Rocks, Channel 4’s Managing Director, Nations and Regions, said: “4Skills will transform how Channel 4 delivers its training and development and the type of people who come into the broadcast industry.

“We have a greater presence in the Nations and Regions than ever before which enables us to reach out to the communities where we live and work.

“4Skills will enable us to explore previously untapped talent pools and attract people from diverse backgrounds, people who might never have considered a career in broadcasting.”

4Skills will provide a range of opportunities including –

  • Apprenticeships across Channel 4 with the first cohorts starting in our Leeds and Manchester bases in early 2021
  • A new initiative focused on digital creativity and production that will provide open days, workshops and paid placements in partnership with 4Studio  
  • A schools and college aged engagement and outreach programme introducing children to careers in the broadcast industry
  • The relaunch of our Production Training Scheme with a 100 per cent focus on the nations and regions
  • Virtual industry events from Bristol, Glasgow and Leeds for independent productions companies providing a mix of commissioner sessions and workshops
  • Bespoke tailored training to address skills gaps in the nations and regions, working with key partners such as the National Film and Television School (NFTS), ScreenSkills, TRC and PACT
  • Providing specific schemes focused on talent development such as the Factual Fast Track scheme in Wales, or our De Montfort University investigative journalism MA.

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director commented: “We welcome 4Skills with open arms – it is absolutely vital that we continue to seek out and nurture the next generation of talent in the Nations and Regions.

“At the NFTS we are working harder than ever to identify skills gaps and provide world class training to match demand. It’s key to the future success of the creative sector that it’s regarded as an industry that offers a career path open to everyone, regardless of background or circumstance.” 

Applications are now open for 12 places on 4Skills apprenticeship schemes based in Leeds and Manchester. The apprenticeships will cover a wide range of skills such as content production, finance, agency sales, social media, programme management, IT support and cyber security.

Aimed at people in the Nations and Regions and/or from a diverse background, the schemes are set to start in early 2021, subject to Covid-related restrictions, and applications can be made here.

In addition to 4Skills, Channel 4 has today launched the Emerging Indie Fund, specifically designed to help indies outside of London break through key stages of growth.

Run annually, the fund will involve commissioners identifying small N&R indies to work with more closely. Indies accepted into the fund will not only receive funding but will also get mentoring sessions plus expert advice from Channel 4’s commercial affairs, ad funded programming and legal teams. More details about the fund are available at the 4Producers website.

The launch of 4Skills builds upon the broadcaster’s 4 All The UK strategy, the biggest change in Channel 4’s 37-year history (Channel 4 first broadcast on 2nd November 1982), which has seen the opening of three new regional centres across the UK. Channel 4 has also committed to increasing its Nations and Regions content spend from its current quota of 35% to a new voluntary target of 50% by 2023, worth up to £250m in total.

4 All The UK has seen the introduction of senior, creative decision makers at Channel 4’s National HQ in Leeds and its Creative Hubs in Bristol and Leeds. When fully implemented 4 All The UK will see up to 300 Channel 4 jobs in the Nations and Regions, transforming how the broadcaster looks and operates.

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