Channel 4 and the North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP) have signed up to a collaboration to help build the production sector and develop talent in the North East.
Working closely with North East Screen and other partners across the region this collaboration will:
- enable better opportunities for the production community to engage with Channel 4 and forge strong creative relationships
- include specific commissioning and development initiatives to develop the production capability in the region and
- provide bespoke training and skills support to tackle skills gaps and open up creative careers to a wider range of people.
The overall aim of the agreement is to support the growth of independent production in the North East building the potential for more commissions from the region and enabling more careers in TV production.
Sinead Rocks, Managing Director Nations & Regions Channel 4, said: “As part of 4 All the UK we have regularly focused the different resources and initiatives on specific areas to help grow the production capacity.
“We know that there is enormous potential for the screen industries in the North East, and this collaboration with NESIP should provide tangible value and have real impact to help realise that potential.”
Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of North East Screen, said: “This is an exciting statement of intent from Channel 4 to work closely with us and NESIP to provide more opportunities for our regional based indies, talent and crew.
“Channel 4 are a great broadcaster doing some really interesting work developing content and engaging audiences across linear and digital platforms.”
Channel 4 will build on its greater Nations and Regions presence to forge stronger and closer relationships in the North East.
As part of this plan, there will be a range of activities geared towards supporting talent from across the region, including established to medium and smaller indies, freelance talent in TV and Film production, and those looking to launch their careers.
The first example of this will be a Channel 4 ‘Open Day’, a mix of virtual sessions and in-person activities for indies, freelancers and other stakeholders to find out more about the channel, meet commissioners and build relationships.
This will take place on Wednesday 25 October in Darlington.
Channel 4’s model is built around our unique relationship with independent production companies. There are already a range of schemes and interventions to support indies, especially those that are smaller and medium sized. Two North East indies (Sea and Sky Pictures and Motif Pictures) have already taken part in Channel 4’s Emerging Indie Fund.
Channel 4 will continue to encourage and support applications from indies in the North East, including running individual and group workshops and surgeries.
Channel 4 and NESIP will work jointly to ensure that future opportunities, schemes and productions fund are shared across our collective networks in the region. This collaboration will also involve bespoke development opportunities.
To begin this work Channel 4 and NESIP have agreed to match-fund a development opportunity in the region for their new In Too Deep digital factual strand.
This will be led by the digital commissioning team which is keen to commission a number of developments from the North East, either from indies directly or by pairing talent with indies in the region. Funding is jointly provided by Channel 4 and NESIP.
This will be a unique opportunity for talent and indies looking to work in the factual online space. Digital commissioners will take part in the North East Open Day on the 25 October in Darlington to talk about this in more detail.
Alongside this work, there will be a major focus on training and skills. Channel 4 will look to support talent across all career stages through 4Skills – from inspiring young people, supporting early-stage writers to hone their skills, to progressing industry professionals in skills such as ideas development, pitching and business skills. The North East has already been a priority area for 4Skills.
4Schools – Channel 4’s school engagement programme designed to encourage 11–16-year-olds to explore a career in the creative industry.
Since 4Schools launched in 2022, it has engaged with 22 schools in the North East, and worked with 11,000 students in the region, with a particular focus on schools with higher percentage of free school meals.
4Schools will continue to prioritise the North East and engage with the regional and local authorities to ensure schools are aware of the opportunity.
Channel 4 will also build on its existing partnership with New Writing North (based at Northumbria University) to support emerging writers in developing their writing skills and providing career advice.
In addition to what is already underway, Channel 4 will develop and deliver new training initiatives that are designed to support the growth of skills in the region. The National Film and Television School will run a two-day careers roadshow in mid-October covering both scripted and unscripted roles.
In 2024, Channel 4 and North East Screen will explore training that accelerates business development, covering leadership and management skills, as well as investment and distribution, along with other bespoke training requirements.
Finally, this collaboration will formalise the already strong working relationship between Channel 4 and North East Screen who will meet on a quarterly basis.
In addition, Channel 4 will attend the already established NESIP Workforce Skills and Development Group which includes regional further and higher education bodies and representatives from Employment and Skills teams in each local authority.