ADD2279 Equal Access Network – making the creative workforce diverse

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
08 October 2018
Decision by: 
Shonagh Manson, Assistant Director of Culture and Creative Industries

Executive summary

The Equal Access Network launched in January 2018 to help people get into, stay in and return to the film, TV, animation and visual effects industries. With a focus on people from underrepresented backgrounds, the network is run by the charity Film London. It successfully places people into paid employment, offering support through masterclasses, internships, courses, bespoke career advice and a hot desk. Funding will help the Equal Access Network achieve scale, supporting a priority of the Mayor’s draft Culture Strategy to make the creative workforce representative of Londoners’ diversity and talent.

This is in addition to MD 2110 which provides funding to Film London to achieve inward investment and job opportunities in London’s screen industries.


That the Assistant Director of Culture and Creative Industries approves:

Funding of £50,000 to Film London to deliver the Equal Access Network in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Potential to grow London’s creative workforce

The UK’s creative industries grew by 7.6 per cent in 2015-16 – double the rate of the economy as a whole, which grew by £3.5 per cent. In 2016, the creative industries provided 882,900 jobs in London – up almost a quarter since 2012.The culture and creative industries are hugely important to London’s workforce, with 1 in 6 jobs in the capital in the creative economy.

Film, TV, visual effects (VFX) and animation have huge potential for growth. London is now the third largest city for film production in the world after New York and Los Angeles. In 2016, UK feature film production spend was worth £1.6 billion – an all-time high – with three quarters of the UK’s film industry based in London. Inward investment into the UK’s television industry is now around £477 million each year. Levels of inward investment into animation have doubled over the last three years and are now worth around £29 million each year.

By 2032, there is an estimated need in the UK of between 800,00-1.2 million square feet of additional studios for broadcast production. Demand is high and likely to keep growing, creating substantial new job opportunities. Brexit risks adversely affecting the industry as many employees in the industry are from mainland Europe. There is both an opportunity – and a need – to invest in London’s creative workforce.
Need for more diversity

The rate of growth in the employment of women has been higher in the creative than the non-creative economy, while the number of jobs filled by people from BAME ethnicity groups increased by 36 per cent in London’s creative economy between 2012 and 2016. This compares to a 22 per cent increase in the wider economy.

This shows the industry is making progress, however there are still significantly fewer women and people from BAME backgrounds working in the creative economy than in the economy at large. In 2016, women made up 35 per cent of the creative workforce compared to 44 per cent across the wider economy, while 23.4 per cent of jobs in London’s creative economy are held by people from BAME groups compared to 33 per cent in the wider London economy. In the creative and cultural workforce in England, only 12 per cent of workers classify themselves as disabled.

Strikingly, 95 per cent of jobs in London’s creative economy were held by people from advantaged socio-economic groups in 2016, compared to 73.8 per cent outside the creative economy. Only 8 per cent of Chief Executives, 10 per cent of Artistic Directors and 10 per cent of Chairs come from BAME backgrounds. At the highest level, women are also under-represented – they make up just 35 per cent of Artistic Directors and Chairs.
Culture for All Londoners

This situation requires concerted action and that is why the Mayor of London’s draft Culture Strategy Culture for All Londoners sets out an ambitious programme to make culture accessible to all Londoners. This includes tackling the barriers that prevent Londoners from securing creative jobs. One of the four priorities of the strategy is “Creative Londoners – investing in a diverse creative workforce for the future.” This aims to ensure that London’s creative workforce represents the diversity of all Londoners.

Culture for All Londoners sets out to work with “partners including Film London to support production schemes and initiatives such as the Equal Access Network to ensure that the capital’s screen industries reflect the city itself.”

The Equal Access Network (EAN)

The Equal Access Network (EAN) was launched in January 2018 by Film London. The EAN helps people get into, stay in and return to the film and TV industry, particularly focussing on people from underrepresented backgrounds. Film London works with employers, training providers, charities and foundations from across London to improve access for trainees and alumni to the industry. The EAN offers support to employers keen to improve their workforce diversity but not clear where they should go to.

The EAN also supports people looking to work in the industry with masterclasses, internships, courses, bespoke career advice, and a hot desk. It has successfully placed people into employment during its pilot. Film London is in a unique position to make the EAN work as an industry focussed charity with access to all the leading companies in London, allowing the EAN to thrive and be a major player in making the industry more inclusive.

Under cover of MD2110, the Mayor is providing Film London with £1.55 million per annum between 2017/18 and 2020/21 to deliver initiatives to maximise inward investment, strengthen sales and exports and promote London as a film destination.

A small amount of GLA funding (£4,000) has launched the Equal Access Network. In order to address workforce diversity and deliver the Mayor’s draft Culture Strategy the EAN needs to scale in order to build capacity, work with employers, and get more diverse Londoners jobs in the key growth sectors of film, TV, animation and visual effects. GLA funding will enable the EAN to build its engagement with the industry and start to significantly increase the training opportunities it can offer and the numbers of people it can get into employment.

To date, the programme has provided training, and other opportunities, for 506 participants and has directly put 36 people into paid employment including 6 returners (people returning to work after leaving employment e.g. due to maternity, disability or caring responsibilities). 66 per cent of EAN members are female, 25 per cent are aged 18-24, and 50 per cent are BAME.

To date, the programme has represented strong value for money, costing £111 for each person helped into work. Film London has now leveraged £30,000 from Creative Skillset to run a Return to Work scheme for the post-production and visual effects sectors working in high end TV drama.

GLA funding will enable the EAN to grow its pool to 300 members and get 180 people into work. GLA funding will enable Film London to recruit more training providers and employers across London to the network. This will ensure that ‘alumni’ from the training have access to jobs and opportunities in the industry. GLA funding will also enable Film London to bring in an external assessor to evaluate the programme; track the diverse talent pool; and measure the success through the career journeys of participants.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Outputs and outcomes of the programme to date

Film London has signed up training providers from across London. These include organisations that work across all boroughs and others that focus on specific boroughs with high levels of deprivation. The EAN has secured key industry employers such as Sky to meet with training providers and begin creating opportunities. This has laid the foundations for a joined-up approach in tackling both skills gaps in the industry and lack of diversity and access to jobs and employers. Since its launch, the EAN has secured the participation of 14 companies. This funding will enable the EAN
to work with a number of significant and high profile new organisations who have pledged to join, which includes Studio Canal, Film 4, Two Brothers Pictures, Playground Television and Sony.

The yearly calendar of events for prospective employees includes masterclasses with accomplished film and TV executives that work in all disciplines in the industry from development to production and distribution to scripted features and documentary series. Film London has run a two-day new entrants course (covering everything from development to distribution) and has offered CV tips and interview advice, plus a hot desk that members can use at any time to conduct their research during their job searching journey and connect with ongoing advice.

The EAN also partners with organisations and companies to offer training, networking, work experience and job placements. Examples of past activity has included a partnership with ITV to deliver a speed networking event where members of the EAN pool met representatives from TV
production companies; and a backstage tour and introduction to live filming of the live show of Flight of The Conchords as guests of HBO. Film London has also co-created internship and work experience schemes with companies including the Ink Factory and Two Brothers Pictures and has
helped EAN members secure jobs at companies like Disney and Sister Pictures. The key outcomes of the project to date are also set out in paragraphs 1.13 - 1.14 above.

GLA Funding Objectives

The objectives of GLA’s funding are:

- To ensure high quality training and skills opportunities go to people from diverse backgrounds.
- To ensure people from diverse backgrounds are getting paid employment in the film, TV, animation and visual effects industries.
- To help and encourage employers to recruit people from a wide range of backgrounds.
- To build sustainable networks between employers and diverse employees.
- To expand the network of employees.
- To expand the network of employers.

Key outcomes

- The programme aims to get 180 people into jobs - representing value for money at less than £277 per person.
- By the end of next year, the network is expected to have grown to 300 members.
- The programme will reach up to 470 potential employees.

Key outputs

New Entrants:

- 12 masterclasses for a minimum of 240 participants (in total).
- One EAN networking event (50-100 people invited).
- One 2-day New Entrants course with masterclasses and workshops (70 participants).
- Run four bespoke workshops on employability (e.g. CV workshops and interview techniques). (40 participants, 10 per workshop).
- Facilitate up to 20 1-2-1 CV surgeries.

This will reach a maximum of 400 people, (although there is likely to be some overlap between events).

Mid Level: Run a mentoring and personal support scheme for diverse talent to address the challenges of what is needed to keep people from underrepresented backgrounds in the industry and progressing. This will reach 8 people.

Returners: Hold two one-day events for returners to prepare them for returning to the industry. (For example, technology moves very fast in the screen industries. Preparing people for work can involve ensuring potential employees have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with updates in technology). This will reach 60 people.

Equality comments

The Equal Access Network places a strong focus on gender equality and on supporting those from underrepresented backgrounds such as BAME, particularly at new entrant level. The programme will run a mentoring support scheme for diverse talent addressing the challenges of what is needed to keep people from underrepresented backgrounds in the industry and progressing. The return from leave scheme will target people who have had to leave the industry for a range of reasons e.g. parents going on maternity/paternity leave, or people having to take away from work due to illness, caring responsibilities or disability. The GLA will work with Film London to ensure the funded activities are in line with the Public-Sector Equality Duty and in particularly on any potential impact on those with protected characteristics.

Other considerations

The project links to a number of mayoral strategies, chiefly the draft Culture Strategy, Economic Development Strategy, Health Inequalities Strategy, Social Integration Strategy, and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.

Without GLA funding, Film London will not be able to deliver the outcomes set out above. The outcomes, and the industry access that Film London can secure, will ensure that the Mayor can deliver on a key priority of his draft Culture Strategy.

Film London has seen membership of and employer and future employee intertest in the EAN grow exponentially in the last few months – creating additional needs for staff and resources.

As the EAN is gaining more attention, Film London is now in a position to expand its work with training partners. As the industry sees the benefit of what the EAN can do, Film London is in an ideal position to work with more companies to find opportunities and jobs for people. GLA funding will also enable Film London to build industry credibility in the EAN, with the potential in future to explore additional and alternative funding streams for this work, and its relevance to other sectors.

Financial comments

Approval is being sought to award a one-off grant of £50,000 to support Film London in delivering the Equal Access Network. This grant is in addition to the annual commitment of £1.55 million approved under cover of MD2110.

The grant payments are expected to be split over two financial years as follows:

2018/19 - £15,000; and
2019/20 - £35,000.

To mitigate risk, payment will be made in arrears once key milestones have been met and clear requirements for this will be laid out in a grant agreement.

The £50,000 budget will be funded by repurposed budget from the 2018 Centenary programme, which is held within the existing Culture and Creative Industries budget allocation for 2018/19 and is to be reprofiled across 2018/19 and 2019/20 to support the payment schedule above.

Activity table



Contracting and announcement

Late autumn 2018

Delivery Start Date

Late autumn 2018

Employer and trainee engagement

Winter 2019

New Entrants Course

Spring 2019

New Return to Work Scheme finishes

Summer 2019

Mid level scheme finishes

Late summer 2019

EAN pool to have 300 members

Autumn 2019

Evaluation start and finish (external)

Late autumn 2019

Delivery End Date:

September 2019

Project Closure:

Late autumn 2019

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