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New diversity initiative supporting underrepresented communities into employment in the screen industry  

Date Posted: June 11, 2024

A new industry-led initiative has supported 93 people from underrepresented minority ethnic , socio-economic and disabled communities in Northern Ireland into supported employment in the screen and creative industries.

The news comes as the Creative Industries New Entrants (CINE) programme, aimed at creating a more diverse workforce in the sector, published its annual report, tracking the progress of the supported employment programme since its inception in 2022.

In addition to the creation of 93 new entrant jobs over the last two years, CINE’s second annual report also revealed that there has been nearly two thousand (1,948) applications for the programme.

CINE participants receive formal training to cover skills relevant to the role for which they are recruited, such as production techniques, idea generation, technical skills, communication skills and teamwork.

They are given the opportunity to put these skills into practice via paid 12-18 month industry placements, with training and a mentor provided to support them.

Following participation in the scheme, almost three-quarters (72%) of those who had secured employment were from lower socio-economic backgrounds, nearly half (46%) had a disability, while 16% were from underrepresented ethnic minority groups.

CINE is a Northern Ireland Screen flagship initiative, funded by the Department for Communities and supported by BBC Northern Ireland.

 Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, described CINE as “a shining example of collaboration and innovation, bringing together government agencies, industry partners and aspiring creatives to drive positive change”.

“This programme represents a crucial step towards building a more inclusive and vibrant creative sector, one that reflects the rich diversity of our society,” he said.

“I am particularly heartened by the strides made in supporting underrepresented communities. This commitment to diversity is not only commendable but essential for fostering a creative ecosystem that thrives on varied perspectives and experiences.

“At the end of their time on CINE, participants should be well equipped for a freelance career within Northern Ireland’s creative industries.”

 Adam Smyth, Director of BBC Northern Ireland, said CINE was a “ground-breaking initiative. We expect that its benefits will continue long into the future. CINE has allowed us to provide placement opportunities for people from different backgrounds and helped to develop their skills, insights and expertise. The BBC makes a big contribution to the creative economy in Northern Ireland – something that CINE has enhanced in new and exciting ways,” he said.

 Tolu Ogunware, the creative mind and director behind BBC Northern Ireland show ‘Black, Northern Irish and Proud’, said CINE had been a “catalyst” for his career:“It has allowed me to meet a lot of incredibly talented people and to learn from them on the job putting me one step ahead when it comes to applying for the next opportunity,” he said.

 Adam O’Connor said CINE had “cemented” his career aspirations: “My mentor, Triplevision Productions, sourced a piece of kit to allow me to film accommodating my physical disability and the experience has been incredible,” he said.“They also supported me to host a podcast with another person who also has a disability sharing tips and information on how to get into the industry.”

 Teresa McDonald a post-production trainee, said CINE had changed her life: “Before CINE, I was working in retail and struggling with my mental health as I didn’t enjoy my job,” she said. “When I saw the position with Red Wolf Films it sounded like the perfect fit for me and the experience has been life‑changing. “I’m so grateful for the CINE opportunity as I don’t think any other avenue would have provided this experience and access to an employer or job that I love.”

As a consequence of the paid placement and mentorship, trainees are moving to the next stage of their career with some being retained by their employers on a full time basis and other equipped with the skills and experience to forge a successful freelance career.

CINE’s Annual Report 2023-24 can be found here


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