Promoting equal opportunity

UKTV's CEO believes television's future is no greater than its ability to attract the brightest talent


10 March, 2015

By UKTV CEO, Darren Childs

Published on

I passionately believe that television's future is no greater than its ability to continue to attract the brightest talent to lead its evolution.

This is why I'm a huge supporter of National Apprenticeship Week, which runs all this week. UKTV is committed to offering hands-on entry level opportunities and in less than two years, as part of our award-nominated apprenticeship scheme, we've taken on four fantastic apprentices, with little or no media experience, who otherwise might not have found an open door into to the world of television. And they're not here doing filing: they're getting stuck in, given great responsibility and delivering tangible results for the company.

UKTV has a comprehensive training and development programme, which includes open Learning Lounges, hosted by teams from across the company and a year-long Management Academy programme for newly-promoted managers.

We've been recognised for our appealing working environment and clear set of values and I believe our Hammersmith hub provides a motivational and imaginative surrounding for entrepreneurial and innovative thinking, and career development.

We are the first and only UK television broadcaster to be recognised by Best Companies, the body behind the prestigious The Sunday Times Best Companies To Work For list, and we've recently been named one of the UK's top 100 apprenticeship employers as part of Boris Johnson's apprenticeship campaign.

The Deputy Prime Minister recently said that dedicated and innovative companies like UKTV are helping Britain secure its recovery and build a stronger, more balanced economy in the years ahead.

In 2013, we revamped our recruitment process to give candidates a more rounded experience and for us to assess their fit with our unique culture. Each applicant now does a phone interview, a skills interview, a values interview, a peer interview and an interview with a top executive.

This might seem a long-winded approach but I don't believe in taking short cuts in finding the right people, who are as passionate about UKTV as I am. Our apprentices went through this process too and I'm proud to say I believe all of them have the ability to go on to become leading lights in the industry.

I firmly believe that a diverse industry is one that promotes equal opportunity and as the fastest growing broadcaster in Britain, I'm proud of the way we are building our community here at UKTV.

I don't believe the answer to diversity issue is quotas. For me, a diverse workforce is a united team of people from all walks of life working together towards a shared goal in a culture of great management, investment in training and career support.

This can't be characterised on a simple sheet of paper listing annual targets and ring-fenced figures, but by ensuring every single person who applies to work for our company, whatever their background, is given the same fair chance to do the best work in their careers. Our interview process is not aided by conscious bias. And I'm proud that our BAME employment figure is at 16% - almost three times our industry's average.

But ultimately, the successful candidate will be the one who is qualified for the role, understands UKTV's values and will thrive in our culture.