Seven people have joined the Creative Diversity Network's year-long commissioner development programme, aimed to boost the number of BAME candidates working at a senior level in television.
The cohort all have a rich background in the media. They include former CBBC presenter Marvyn Benoit who is now at Sky factual and Ninder Billing who is working in factual at Channel 5. Billing was previously an Executive Producer for a CBBC programme, which has recently been nominated for an RTS award.
The diversity programme is being delivered by the agency thinkBigger, which has previously helped Channel 4’s to deliver their London Paralympics coverage in 2012.
Director of thinkBigger, Edi Smockum, said: “With five of the seven Commissioning Executives started, we can already see enormous progress and opportunities being opened.”
The development scheme has been created to increase diverse talent both on and off screen. In June, the BBC announced that it aims to increase on screen diversity by 15% by 2017.
Executive Director of the CDN Amanda Ariss said: “The benefits of this ground-breaking programme will be felt not only by the individuals who are taking part but also across the industry as a whole.”
The five broadcasters involved are the BBC, Channel 4 who aim to spend £5m a year from their Diversity Charter to increase the proportion BAME talent in TV, Channel 5, ITV and Sky. The chosen candidates are working across genres such as Sport, Factual and Drama.
Ariss said that the broadcasters have done a 'fantastic job' in recruiting some exciting talent to their teams.
In February the BBC recruited six new Assistant Commissioners from BAME backgrounds.
Creative Skillset’s TV Skills Fund, who help to develop diverse talent, is also involved in the project. For more details go to the commissioner development programme website.