Channel 4 launches 4Schools to open up creative careers to young people

Channel 4 will open up the world of television to young people in a new initiative aimed at encouraging them to pursue a career in the creative industry. 

4Schools will reach out directly to schools in a bid to encourage inspire students, particularly those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, by showcasing the broad range of roles in the broadcast, film and digital sectors. 

The initiative will motivate children to picture themselves in the creative sector, bring to life the breadth of careers on offer and offer practical guidance on enabling them to fulfil their potential within it.  

Channel 4’s managing director, nations and regions, Sinead Rocks said: “We believe that for many young people, if you can’t see it – you can’t be it. That’s why we think there is real value in providing an accessible insight into the creative industries alongside practical advice as to how to get your foot in the door.  

“The UK is a world leader in television and film production and it’s incumbent upon us reach out to people from different backgrounds, help young people realise their aspirations and bring through the next generation of talent into our industry, regardless of where they live.” 

Matt Burton, the headteacher who became a household name after appearing on Channel 4’s hit series Educating Yorkshire, said: “The next generation of professionals are in our primary and secondary schools right now, and it’s incredibly important that every child is given the opportunity to find out about a breadth of careers – including those in the creative sector.” 

“Understanding and interacting with people working in exciting and diverse careers can have a life-shaping effect, and complements the brilliant careers guidance that already goes on in schools across the country.” 

4Schools will provide a range of assets to schools to give young people insight into career options across media industries. These will include workshops, quizzes and sessions from people already working in the industry. The activities will bring to life the various types of roles within Channel 4 and the kinds of jobs available at its creative partners such as the 300 independent production companies the public service broadcaster works with each year. 

The initiative includes materials to support schools with their own careers activities and provide the opportunity for speakers from Channel 4 and independent production companies to visit schools and discuss creative careers with pupils.  

Focused on 11-14 year olds (Key Stage 3), the content of these sessions is designed to support the curriculum, as well as helping schools achieve Gatsby standards by providing contact with employers and labour market information. 

The initiative will demonstrate the breadth of career opportunities and show that the industry is accessible and relevant to people from all backgrounds, with a major focus on diversity and inclusion. 4Schools will initially focus schools in the West Midlands, West Yorkshire and the North East but the ambition is to roll out the initiative more widely across the Nations and Regions. 

The drive to launch a long-term strategy to reach out to young people from different backgrounds comes after a review published by Ofcom highlighted the backgrounds of people working in the television industry. 

The Ofcom publication showed that 59% of employees working in television in 2020/21 had parents working in professional occupations, when the employee was aged 14. This was nearly double the national average of 33%, indicating the challenge and opportunity for the sector to appeal to those from more diverse socio-economic backgrounds. 

To support and deliver 4Schools, Channel 4 has partnered with social enterprise TheTalentPeople which also operates, the UK’s leading jobs site for young people.  

David Allison, CEO at TheTalentPeople, said: “Our experience shows that providing young people with first-hand experience of a wide range of careers is fundamental to inspiring them to explore what’s possible. To be able to harness the power of the Channel 4 brand and team to communicate the amazing breadth of roles within the creative sector is a fantastic opportunity.” 

School leaders and careers teachers can register their interest in 4Schools workshops for their school here 

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