BBC to coach disadvantaged school students for Apprenticeship success


New BBC schemes to improve opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds to get sought after apprenticeships in the BBC and creative sector

Two new initiatives are being launched to help young people from low income families compete for future apprenticeships at the BBC.

The first programme, based in London and Salford, is a training course designed to level the playing field for 50 school students from socially diverse backgrounds. The programme, being developed with advice from social mobility charity The Sutton Trust, will help prepare 16 to 18 year olds from less-privileged backgrounds to apply for highly sought after apprenticeships, including the BBC Production, Digital Journalism and Broadcast Operations schemes which start in September 2020. Training will take place over 18 months (starting from September 2018) to allow the successful candidates to fit in learning around school hours and holidays.

The second programme based in Cardiff will offer 10 full time, paid, pre-employment traineeships to high potential raw talent with the ambition to apply for 10 BBC Wales Journalism Apprenticeships.  Each trainee will receive intensive BBC training in journalism, as well as being coached in a range of techniques which support future employability. The programme will be supported by further opportunities for young people to attend BBC ‘Boot Camp’ training sessions and access to work experience placements.

Research from the Sutton Trust last year suggested that, across the UK generally, a disproportionate number of the country’s most prestigious apprenticeship places are going to teenagers from higher-income-backgrounds and older people, leaving less privileged youngsters behind. 

The Sutton Trust leads research and work to combat educational inequality to prevent a subsequent waste of the UK’s young talent. It works to create opportunities for young people to ensure they are able to fulfil their potential, regardless of family background, school or where they live. 

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said: “Social mobility matters, and that’s why I’ve made apprenticeships a priority at the BBC – opening the door to people from many different backgrounds. 

“We will only succeed in being the world-leading creative organisation we need to be if we seek out the brightest talent from the broadest range of backgrounds and allow no barriers to get in their way. 

“I’m proud that, working with The Sutton Trust, we’re going to provide this training for young people from the most deprived backgrounds so they can compete for the best apprenticeships and jobs.” 

Claire Paul, the BBC’s Director of Leadership and New Talent says: These new schemes aim to give a leg up to young people who have the raw talent to succeed but perhaps don’t have the confidence to apply for highly competitive apprenticeships. We’ll be offering them training in a wide range of employability skills such as interview techniques and coaching to give them an equal shot at success.” 

Sir Peter Lampl, Founder and Chairman of the Sutton Trust, says:  “The Government’s target for apprenticeships to 2020 is three million.  We know that young people from low and moderate income backgrounds are much less likely than their peers to take up the most prestigious apprenticeships. 

“To make sure apprenticeships fulfil their potential as a vehicle for social mobility, it will be crucial to improve access to those that offer real alternatives to A-levels and degrees. The BBC’s new programme will play an important part by enabling more young people from low-income homes to access high-quality apprenticeships in the media.”  

The BBC has a well-established record in apprenticeships at all levels, including programmes aimed at those who have not been to, or don’t plan to go to, university but have the raw potential to succeed. The BBC’s portfolio includes schemes across production, journalism, business, digital, engineering, law and cyber security. With BBC Apprenticeships in Broadcast Engineering, Legal, Business Management and Software Engineering there is a degree built into the programme – enabling people to get a degree who might otherwise be put off by University tuition fees, and earning a salary at the same time. This year there are more than 200 BBC apprentices and about 150 BBC graduate trainees across the UK. 

The BBC expects non-graduate apprentices to have the same job opportunities as graduate trainees over a five year period. The aim is for those coming to the organisation, be it from university or from school, to have an equal chance of reaching senior positions in the BBC.