The BBC today announced a new apprentice scheme to tackle a critical technology skills shortage in the broadcast sector.
The BBC Technology Apprenticeship, funded by BBC Technology and the government’s Employer Ownership Skills Pilot with the participation of a various industry partners, aims to produce 100 highly skilled, experienced and employable graduate level apprentices over eight years to meet the growing demands of the industry.
The apprenticeship opened for applications on today and will recruit 20 apprentices annually for a three year programme working toward an honours bachelor degree, with apprentices based across the UK and receiving a combination of training, work placements and academic study.
John Linwood, BBC chief technology officer, said: "The BBC has been at the forefront of broadcasting engineering excellence over many decades. This important industry initiative is a major contribution towards helping train and develop the next generation of engineering talent, and help the UK broadcasting industry maintain its world leading position for the future."
The project sprung from the Open Channels initiative announced in December 2012, which prompted BBC Technology and the BBC Academy, in partnership with major UK universities and Creative Skillset, to bring together some of the UK’s biggest broadcasters (BBC, Channel 4, and ITV) and media infrastructure companies (Red Bee Media and Arqiva) to shape a common skills agenda.
The academic courses will cover key topics including software development and managing IP networks, as well as the traditional engineering principles of electronics, electrics, video and audio systems.
The BBC is working with the Universities of Salford and Birmingham City to develop courses that give apprentices a world-class foundation in the theory of broadcast engineering.
Anne Morrison, director of BBC Academy and chair of Creative Skillset TV and Content Strategy Group, said: “We aim to make the BBC's training and associated resources available more widely across the broadcast supply chain, focusing on key industry skills gaps and attracting a wide and diverse range of applicants to help address the industry shortfall in this sector.”
And the organisation hopes the programme will help break the cycle of closed graduate recruitment and ad hoc entry level training to attract a more diverse range of young talent into the sector.
The BBC will employ 100 technology apprentices over eight years on behalf of the wider broadcast and media sector – making newly trained talent available to work across the industry on completion of the qualification.