Factory Academy to boost diversity in creative careers

DetailsEditor | 04 March 2015

Seeking to widen access to digital content creation careers, Factory Media has launched The Factory Academy, a scheme designed to provide opportunities in its digital-content department.

Claimed to be Europe's largest lifestyle sports and culture content business, Factory Media specialises in producing content for digital brands and broadcasters, and has recently embarked upon a period of aggressive growth. Under this strategy, Dee Smith and Jonathan Bates, have been hired to expand the company's content distribution network from its 27 lifestyle sports and culture brands to the exploitation of a range of broadcasting and licensing opportunities, including the launch of dedicated YouTube channels and the creation of a talent and publisher network.

In this latest expansion, Factory Media will take on ten new interns on paid annual contracts and for its inaugural initiative it will be partnering with Creative Access to ensure that appropriate structures, funding and support are in place for the new interns, as well as to assist in the intern recruitment process.

Creative Access provides opportunities in the creative industries for young people from under-represented backgrounds such as the BAME communities. According to the latest Creative Skillset 2012 Employment Census, BAME people are under-represented in the media industry by over 300%. Conversely, employment in the creative media industries grew by more than 4,000 jobs between 2009 and 2012. However, despite this increase, the number of BAME people in the industry actually fell by 2,000.

Factory Media has pledged a minimum three-year commitment to the Academy. The successful interns, the first intake of whom start this week, will gain hands-on experience across the entire Factory Media portfolio, gaining essential skills in a range of disciplines, from content creation to monetising and extending the reach of both editorial and video brands. The internships will also teach candidates how to brainstorm and develop original ideas for online content, how to pitch to brands and broadcasters, and how to find an audience for the content they help to create.

"The business case for diversity is well proven. We not only want our content to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, but we also want to gather talent and ideas from a pool of the most diverse minds," explained Jo Fairweather, head of video at Factory Media and director of The Factory Academy. "This scheme represents a significant investment for us in terms of both time and money, and underpins the future content strategy we have in place."