Factor Media partners with Creative Access for Academy launch

Factory Media, Europe’s largest lifestyle sports and culture content business, has announced the launch of The Factory Academy, a scheme designed to provide opportunities in its fast-growing digital content department for 10 new interns on paid annual contracts.

For the inaugural initiative, Factory Media has partnered 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 black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). The Factory Academy is seen as a significant step towards Factory Media’s ambition to instil diversity, sustainability and equal opportunity into every aspect of its operation.

Factory Media, which specialises in producing innovative content for digital brands and broadcasters, has embarked upon a period of aggressive growth. Under this strategy, TV and digital heavyweights, 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.

Jo Fairweather, head of video at Factory Media and director of The Factory Academy, said: “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. 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.”

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.

Darryl Newton, CEO of Factory Media, added: “We want our Academy to be accessible to the brightest and most enthusiastic minds available. This launch with Creative Access will allow us to improve our own diversity standards, while making a tangible contribution to reversing a pernicious, industry-wide trend. In London, BAME representation in the media industries stands at 8.9% — the highest in the country. That’s not bad until you consider that the capital’s overall BAME working population is 28.8%. This isn’t fair and, furthermore, it’s bad for business, because it’s ignoring a huge potential audience.”

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.

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