BIRMINGHAM & SOLIHULL CHOSEN TO PILOT NEW BBC DIGITAL PROJECT

Birmingham has been chosen as one of the locations to pilot a new initiative that aims to up-skill young people and provide them with experience in the creative sector. BBC Make It Digital has just completed its first pilot, working with training and apprenticeship experts Creative Alliance.

Launched officially today, BBC Make It Digital aims to get the nation excited about digital creativity, by inspiring young audiences through world class TV, radio and online content. Digbeth-based Creative Alliance was chosen to manage the UK pilot, working alongside the BBC and the Department for Work and Pensions, to take the first group of young people through the programme, which includes five weeks’ training and three weeks working in a creative environment.

“BBC Make It Digital is a proactive initiative that aims to help get young, unemployed people between 16-24 years, to a more employable level. During this pilot we have taken young adults from varied backgrounds but with no Higher or Further Education qualifications, through the eight-week process, which is made up of theory and practical learning. We know that young minds learn in different ways, and the Make It Digital programme is flexible enough for them to respond to both classroom-style training and on-the-job experience,” said Noel Dunne, Director at Creative Alliance.

The five-week training includes film and documentary making, video editing, CV writing, presentation skills, support with key subjects including Maths and English, portfolio creation, and digital marketing. This is followed by three weeks’ experience within a business, working across a range of disciplines; digital, design, coding, and marketing; and one final week back at the training centre. Creative Alliance engaged a number of local businesses for the pilot who all took on one of the BBC Make It Digital participants; Bareface Media, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham City Council, Chemex, Ashley Housing, Trilby, National Express and The Drum.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the success of the first pilot; just four weeks after the programme 50% of them were in employment, which is a fantastic result. Our young people really got stuck in and now they are reaping the rewards; even those who have not been immediately employed, they are now at a level where they can apply for Apprenticeships, a direct result of the BBC Make It Digital initiative,” Noel added.

Yasmin Akhtar, who took part in the pilot, said:

“The BBC Make It Digital course has allowed me to broaden my horizons within digital media, I have learnt a wealth of employability skills that will allow me to progress within my future career as a Pashto interpreter. I’m currently working as an interpreter part-time but would like to move this to full time within the health care industry. BBC MID has given me the passion and the knowledge to achieve these goals.”

One of the employers to take part in the programme was Bareface Media, who employed Jordan Walker immediately after his work experience. John Millist, Lead Designer, at the agency said:

“Jordan Walker spoke passionately about why he wanted to join the digital industries. Equipped with the core digital skills through a short intensive programme run by the BBC he joined our team at Bareface Media to experience what it takes to survive in a modern advertising agency.”

Custard Factory-based Creative Alliance specialises in training and apprenticeships for young people in the creative industries and was awarded the right to deliver the BBC Make It Digital pilot in Birmingham and Solihull. It has now completed two full courses, with a third due to start in August, in line with the national launch of the programme by the BBC.

BBC Make It Digital is all about making young people more employable. As well as creative skills, the trainees are also taught how to act professionally in a work place by either learning or adding to existing skills of; punctuality, telephone etiquette, project management, budgets and interview skills. These employability skills will prepare them for the following three weeks where they are placed in a work environment with a company suited to them and their skills.

Creative Alliance is now looking for more regional businesses to get involved, by offering programme participants the opportunity to gain three weeks’ work experience. To find out more about BBC Make It Digital and to offer work experience to one of the trainees, visit creativealliance.org.uk.

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