Rise launches schools tech outreach programme with BT Sport and Sky

The gender diversity advocate group Rise has launched a new industry-led schools outreach programme designed to inspire and educate school-age children about engineering and technology opportunities in the broadcast, media, and entertainment industries.

Supported by BT Sport, Sky and other industry partners, ‘Rise Up’ is a programme of school workshops that will be delivered throughout the UK in order to inspire pupils throughout their primary and secondary education.

The industry will remain in contact with the participants throughout and encourage them to consider a broadcast engineering apprenticeship or degree, when they reach this level.

“In order to fully achieve a gender-balanced workforce and also to ensure more broadly that there is a pipeline of diverse talent coming into the industry, we believe that this work needs to be undertaken,” said Rise director Carrie Wootten.

“This programme of work will only be successful if there is a collective effort from across the industry. We are actively looking for more industry partners to commit to this vision of encouraging a new generation of talent to enter the sector.”

The launch of Rise Up is based on work completed over the last year that has seen Rise combine with universities and the industry to examine the current shortfall of new talent entering the broadcast technology sector, specifically examining engineering and technical operational roles.

The key message from this research, according to Rise, is that universities are “struggling to recruit both male and female talent in broadcast engineering-related courses, which is directly impacting the industry, creating recruitment shortfalls across the sector.”

“This work needs to be undertaken in order to fully achieve a gender-balanced workforce and also to ensure more broadly that there is a pipeline of diverse talent coming into the industry.”

In June of this year, Rise held a roundtable with five key industry partners: BT Sport, Sky, dB Broadcast, EMS Technical Personnel and the BBC. The discussion looked at barriers to entry, struggles of recruiting talent for courses and what the industry can do to actively change the current talent shortage.

The recommended action from the representatives was to encourage young talent in primary and secondary schools to look at engineering and technical roles as potential career paths.

Following the roundtable meeting, BT Sport chief engineer Andy Beale ran a test workshop in a primary school near Reading. Tied in closely to the stage 3 STEM curriculum, the hands-on one-day event gave students access to broadcast equipment and the chance to learn technical and engineering skills as well as an understanding of how STEM subjects link with real-world careers.

The test workshop is said to have demonstrated that this type of workshop could have a real impact and encourage students to consider a career in the broadcast technology sector.

Beale said: “Since its launch in 2013, BT Sport is proud to have used the power of sport to change lives through several charitable and industry initiatives. These include The Supporters Club which has supported thousands of youngsters into employment and training. Today’s announcement builds on this commitment, while also deepening our commitment to the local community in which we are based.”

Rise Up currently has a commitment from BT Sport, Sky, dB Broadcast, EMS Personnel, IABM and the DPP.

Rise is an advocate group for gender diversity within the broadcast manufacturing and services sector.

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