Charity specialising in TV production training scoops diversity award for talent and leadership

A youth training company has been recognised for their leadership in creating equal and inclusive workplaces for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people.

Cristina Ciobanu, MAMA Youth’s Director of Operations and founder Bob Clarke celebrate their win. Photo Credit: Business in the Community 

MAMA Youth Project (MYP), won the Developing Talent Award at Business in the Community’s Race Equality Awards 2016, which took place at the Hilton Park Lane hotel in London this week. 

MYP gives young people the opportunity to learn crucial TV production skills on the job by making a real-life music show – called “What’s Up TV” – that airs on SKY One.

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Project founder Bob Clarke told TJ:  “We didn’t expect to win as we were up against the civil service, American Express and Imperial College.

“It means so much to us especially since it’s not a TV award. As it’s a Business in the Community Award, we are recognised within the industry and for others to see what we do.”
The “What’s Up TV” training programme runs for 13 weeks in total. The first three weeks are unpaid; the following 10 weeks are employed training with the aim to equip young people from 18-25 years of age with the skills and experience to secure long-term employment in the TV and media industry.

The schemes gives 24 participants real-life experience and understanding of the different roles in television production, working as production co-ordinators, editors, camera operators, and in general production-assistant roles – known in the industry as “runners”. 
Clarke said: “They live and breathe every emotion that goes on in that role then we make them runners. No one knows what each job involves, so by the time they leave they will know what is entailed in that specific role.”
According to the latest Creative Skillset employment census, BAME representation in the TV and film industry has declined across production, distribution and exhibition roles from 2009-12. It said BAME employment in the film-production sector fell from 10 per cent to 3 per cent.

MYP focuses on young people from under-represented groups and those with limited educational or employment opportunities, including unemployed graduates.
Clarke added: “Every single person that has come to us has had a challenge in their lives or are going through a challenge. We have people on the course who are graduates as well as those who are classified as homeless. The team is quite diverse and that is reflected in the programme they make and it’s a joy to see!

“What drives us is making sure we get it right in our industry because when we portray a section of people wrongly on TV, that hits millions of people at once, it gives them the wrong perception. It’s crucial we get it right.”  

The October 11 awards ceremony was hosted by ITV News presenter Charlene White, and attended by more than 500 business leaders. 

The awards celebrate outstanding practice, innovation and dedication to race equality and inclusion in UK workplaces.


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