A ground-breaking employment initiative in the north of England which brings together independent production companies and freelancers has already attracted more than 3,000 members.
TV Talent North is a Facebook group which links indies seeking talent and freelancers who are looking for work. It offers up to the minute industry job vacancies and has already hosted more than 300 jobs since its launch. The group also offers training advice and acts as a site where freelancers can showcase their skills and previous work.
The initiative, the brainchild of Channel 4’s Off Screen Talent Executive Victoria Roye, was set up with help from colleagues at the BBC, ITV, Viacom as well as 26 indies including Gobstopper, True North, Studio Lambert, Workerbee, and Luna TV. A cross industry steering group, which consists of representatives from the above groups works together to identify job vacancies that can then be posted on TV Talent North.
Victoria said: “At a time when the industry is focussing heavily on recruitment, particularly around diversity, TV Talent North is free and open to all with the intention to promote greater transparency around hiring of staff.
“We’ve had a fantastic reaction from both production companies and freelancers and the group has already become a vital resource for employers in the region.”
Sinead Rocks, Channel 4’s Managing Director, Nations and Regions, said: “Anything broadcasters and production companies can do to help the north’s talent pool at the moment is vital. We are lucky to have a rich and diverse network of talent, but to retain and build on it, we believe we need to collaborate more and support our amazing crews in any way we can, and Channel 4 is right behind this.”
Freelancers Elouise Ward and Curtis Leighton-Jones both welcomed the initiative. Curtis said: “It’s great to have a one stop shop, not just for job opportunities but also to hear from others in the industry.”
Elouise added: “I’ve found this group such a helpful resource, such clear role opportunities, expectations and transparency all round.”
Caroline Short, Executive Producer at ITN North, said: “TV Talent North has been transformative in creating a community that links all potential jobs in one place and really broadens the talent pool.”
TV Talent North launched in June initially to help freelancers get back to work after the Convid-19 lockdown. In the past two years production has been growing across the north and this is set to continue as Channel 4 continues to deliver on its increased investment commitments in the Nations and Regions.
Victoria added: “Broadcasters and indies are keen to keep up the momentum so TV Talent North becomes a tool to help freelancers finds jobs and enable indies to tap into a diverse range of talent.”
The site also acts as a virtual community for freelancers at a time when many have been isolated and has carried a range of features about key northern productions and Q&A articles with senior creatives. Plans are also in the pipeline for a mentoring scheme to support diverse and under-represented talent which is being supported by ScreenSkills.
TV Talent North is being backed financially by Channel 4, Manchester City Council & The Film & TV Charity, and has members from as far afield as York, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.