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Shaping the next generation of HETV talent through mentoring

HETV Trainee Finder Programme


By: Alex Protherough Head of Production, Red Planet Pictures, Chair of Trainee Finder, HETV Council.

Alex ProtheroughThe ‘new look’ Trainee Finder is a change in direction from its original form. Switching focus to fewer trainees, the relaunch aims to provide a better quality of training, pastoral care and succession planning to the next generation of High End TV professionals and filmmakers. With approval and support from the HETV Council, Creative Skillset has made significant changes to their recruitment criteria, and two dedicated full time managers have been put in place to administer the programme.

From June this year, Creative Skillset will have 75 new trainees on its books. These trainees will be recruited from social and geographically diverse backgrounds, all vetted by industry professionals and fully briefed on the requirements and expectations of the industry.

Its new managers will regularly engage with the productions and departments who work with its trainees, and monitor the progress of individuals. By maintaining relations with the trainees and employers and establishing a network of mentors, the relaunch aims to improve its success rate and see more trainees through to new careers within the television industry.

Tackling problems through industry mentors

In reducing its numbers, Trainee Finder has adopted the approach of quality over quantity, and in addition to the tougher recruitment criteria, Creative Skillset are looking at how those already working in the industry can help and support the next generation. They are advertising for industry professionals to volunteer to take part in the scheme as mentors to its new trainees.

For a long time, recruitment in the industry has relied too heavily on new blood with existing connections to the industry. As a result, it is often criticized and perceived by those outside as a ‘closed shop’ where youngsters from more socially diverse backgrounds are unable to find work at entry level.

The aim of recruiting industry mentors is to tackle this problem head on. Creative Skillset are strategically looking to recruit trainees from a bigger pool. Those trainees with existing relationships have an immediate head start on youngsters coming into the industry without. I, like so many of us, was lucky enough to have a connection who supported me through my early years. Creative Skillset are asking for experienced professionals with a wide understanding of the industry to take this place for those less fortunate. They are asking us to fill this space and be that person to meet with once or twice a year, take the occasional phone call and offer advice.

There is no question the industry needs to address the way in which it trains young people and diversify. Being a mentor is a very simple thing to do, but it can make a huge difference. The scheme offers a great opportunity to get involved and support a new generation as they make their move into the industry.

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