Channel 4 invests in disabled production talent ahead of Rio 2016 Paralympics

Channel 4 is investing £500,000 in two major new talent initiatives to support the broadcaster’s commitment to ensure that 10% of the production team working on its coverage of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games are people with disabilities.

The commitment is a key element of Channel 4’s recently announced 360° Diversity Charter and is part of the production tender awarded to leading sports producer, Sunset+Vine.

The Rio Production Training Scheme and Rio Disabled Talent Fast-Track build on Channel4’s legacy of investing in a ground breaking nationwide search for disabled on-screen talent for London 2012, as well as its track record in grassroots talent training schemes.

The Rio Production Training Scheme is now open for applications and will see 24 trainees with disabilities employed for 12 months at production companies in the roles of Junior AP, Production Co-ordinator or Technical Assistant. In addition to structured work experience within their placed company the trainees will receive specialist production training facilitated by Channel 4. Subject to passing a final assessment the trainees will be hired by Sunset+Vine as part of the production team for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Priscilla Baffour, industry talent specialist, Channel 4, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the new and diverse talent we’ve fostered through 4Talent’s Production Training Scheme. The annual initiative encourages new voices and perspectives into the industry and provides opportunities for people across the UK who are passionate about kick starting a career in the media.

“This year we’re focused on developing a pipeline of disabled production staff who we hope will join the 130 scheme graduates who have gone on to build successful careers in the industry.”

In addition, later this year the Channel 4 Rio Disabled Talent Fast-Track will headhunt six disabled producers currently working in the industry and further develop their production skills to enable them to fulfil key roles within Sunset+Vine’s Rio 2016 production team.

Channel 4 will also build on its London 2012 Paralympic legacy for on-screen disabled talent – taking the best of the 2012 disabled presenters and reporters to the next level, identifying at least two new disabled presenters and lead commentators, and providing training for all commentators on the most effective ways to bring explanation of sports and disabilities to viewers.

Jeff Foulser, chairman of Sunset+Vine, said: “We are delighted to support Channel 4’s bold initiative and look forward to welcoming the successful candidates into our production team for Rio.”

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