Screen Yorkshire aims to boost diversity behind the scenes in TV and film as recruitment opens for Beyond Brontës 2021 training programme

Screen Yorkshire opens applications for the third year of its Beyond Brontës training programme today, with a call to encourage applications from young people (aged 18 - 24) whose backgrounds are not well represented in the TV and film industries.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 11:00 am
Henna Ravjibhai (left) and Adeel Amini

The part-time training package launched in 2019 with the aim of breaking down barriers and increasing access to film and TV jobs for young people.

A particular focus is people of Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, but Screen Yorkshire also hopes to attract individuals who have disability status or identify as LGBTQ+, and those who may have been prevented from accessing training and work experience due to socio-economic challenges.

In the first two years, Beyond Brontës trainees have gone on to work on high-profile TV productions including Gentleman Jack, The Syndicate, Anne Boleyn, Coronation Street, Ackley Bridge, Channel 4’s Dispatches and First Dates.

TV producer Adeel Amini, who was appointed to Screen Yorkshire’s board in February, said: "As someone who started in TV on a scheme, I know just how important they can be for career development. Beyond Brontës is the gold standard, and a true force in providing the screen industries with the diverse and authentic voices they need."

Only 22% of applicants to the Beyond Brontës programme in 2020 were from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds. This year Screen Yorkshire aims to increase that recruitment figure by intensifying its community outreach marketing.

Earlier this year, The Creative Diversity Network’s (CDN) Diamond 2021 ‘Fourth Cut’ report on diversity in the UK television industry found that diversity across many senior production roles is still poor, with the most recent report showing a fall in senior role contributions made by those who identify as black, Asian or minority ethnic. Beyond Brontës was founded specifically with the aim of getting young people from minority groups onto the screen industries ladder, to help address this persistent imbalance.

Screen Yorkshire head of skills Glyn Middleton said: “Beyond Brontës has been incredibly successful in its first two years. However, we would really like to see more applications from groups that remain under-represented in film and TV. There is a particular shortage of trained people from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds in the industry and this programme has been designed to support those individuals.’’

Beyond Brontës prepares young people for a wide range of jobs in film and TV, from roles at broadcasters and independent production companies – such as research, story-telling, development and editing – to on-set crew, working in departments like costume, set building, hair and make-up or lighting.

Participants receive a bespoke package of training and support to help them to prepare for a career that is suited to their personal interests and strengths. Running across five months, the course is tailored to the needs of the individual, with modules including industry masterclasses, CV and interview workshops, mentorships, and one-to-one support. Internships and work experience placements are also arranged wherever feasible.

Henna Ravjibhai from Cleckheaton, who took part in Beyond Brontës 2020 said: ‘’In just six months, I feel so much closer to gaining a career in the film and TV industry thanks to the support of Beyond Brontës. The course is structured so that I could balance work whilst still getting the best industry training and networking experience possible. I have gained valuable contacts, industry mentors and new friends who are all on my doorstep.’’

Lia Barrett from Bradford, who took part in Beyond Brontës 2020 said: ‘’Participating in the Beyond Brontës scheme has made my career goals feel like an imminent reality in the most uncertain year of our lives. Networking and meeting frequently with industry professionals has pushed me out of my comfort zone and built my confidence and I have had a number of roles in short and feature length films, developing my professional credits under the guidance of experienced mentors.’’

Young people who are interested in applying should be able to demonstrate a passion and commitment for working in the film and TV industry, but they don’t need any work experience or particular qualifications to apply. The course is open to individuals aged 18 to 24 from Leeds City Region (which includes Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, York, Kirklees, Calderdale, Selby, Craven, Harrogate and Barnsley). It is free to participate in and the course structure is designed as part-time to allow flexibility around other commitments.

Screen Yorkshire is working in partnership with the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council to deliver Beyond Brontës with the support of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP).

Screen Yorkshire has been supported by the BFI’s National Cluster Growth Fund using National Lottery funding to support the development and growth of the Yorkshire screen sector.

The deadline for year three Beyond Brontës applications is noon, Friday May 7. To find out more about applying, go to www.screenyorkshire.co.uk or email [email protected]