Channel 4 invests in new generation of disabled production talent for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games


(Video: © Channel 4)

Rio Production Training Scheme open for applications

Channel 4 is investing £500,000 in two major new talent initiatives to support the broadcaster’s commitment to ensure that 10% of the production team working on its coverage of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games are people with disabilities.

The commitment is a key element of Channel 4’s recently announced 360° Diversity Charter and is part of the production tender awarded to leading sports producer, Sunset+Vine.

The Rio Production Training Scheme and Rio Disabled Talent Fast-Track build on Channel4’s legacy of investing in a ground breaking nationwide search for disabled on-screen talent for London 2012, as well as its track record in grassroots talent training schemes.

The Rio Production Training Scheme is now open for applications and will see 24 trainees with disabilities employed for 12 months at production companies in the roles of Junior AP, Production Co-ordinator or Technical Assistant. In addition to structured work experience within their placed company the trainees will receive specialist production training facilitated by Channel 4.  Subject to passing a final assessment the trainees will be hired by Sunset+Vine as part of the production team for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. 

Priscilla Baffour, Industry Talent Specialist, Channel 4 said: “We’re incredibly proud of the new and diverse talent we’ve fostered through 4Talent’s Production Training Scheme. The annual initiative encourages new voices and perspectives into the industry and provides opportunities for people across the UK who are passionate about kick starting a career in the media.

“This year we’re focussed on developing a pipeline of disabled production staff who we hope will join the 130 scheme graduates who have gone on to build successful careers in the industry.”

In addition, later this year the Channel 4 Rio Disabled Talent Fast-Track will headhunt six disabled producers currently working in the industry, with a passion for sport, and further develop their production skills to enable them to fulfil key roles within Sunset+Vine’s Rio 2016 production team.

Channel 4 will also build on its London 2012 Paralympic legacy for on screen disabled talent – taking the best of the 2012 disabled presenters and reporters to the next level, identifying at least two new disabled presenters and lead commentators, and providing training for all commentators on the most effective ways to bring explanation of sports and disabilities to viewers.

Jeff Foulser, Chairman of Sunset+Vine said, “We are delighted to support Channel 4’s bold initiative and look forward to welcoming the successful candidates into our production team for Rio.”

Many of those who featured in Channel 4’s talent search and made their presenting debuts in 2012 have gone on to play major roles in other programming such as Grierson-nominated Arthur Williams who fronted The Plane That Saved Britain, WWI’s Forgotten Heroes and upcoming Flying to the End of the EarthAde Adepitan presented Unreported World and Dispatches and will present forthcoming Britain on a Mission; Arthur and Ade both presented the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games from the London studio, while Rachael Latham and Daraine Mulvihill reported from Sochi. Rachael also presented this year’s IPC Swimming European Championships and National Paralympics Day and reported live from Wembley Stadium at three NFL International Series fixtures last year. Alex Brooker is currently co-hosting the fifth series of RTS-award-winning The Last Leg alongside Josh Widdicombe with Adam Hills. Martin Dougan is now a regular BBC Newsroundreporter and presenter and joined the cast of Channel 4’s I’m Spazticus whilst Jordan Jarrett-Bryan is working as a sports reporter for Channel 4 News.

Audience research carried out for Channel 4 around the Paralympics 2012 showed that two thirds of viewers felt the coverage of the Paralympics has had a favourable impact on their perceptions towards people with disabilities and also disabled sport. 80% of viewers enjoyed the fact that there were disabled presenters on screen in and 74% liked the matter of fact discussions about disability Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics.

Alison Walsh, Disability Executive, Channel 4 said: “Channel 4’s coverage of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will be fronted and produced by teams that include the brightest and best disabled talent. As they did in London, the presentation team in Rio will bring in-depth knowledge of Paralympic sport and experience of disability, live broadcast skills and a uniquely Channel 4 tone and attitude to the coverage.

They play a vital role in attracting and engaging the audience with unfamiliar sports, building on LEXI to explain the intricacies of Paralympic classification, getting under the skin of the superhuman athletes, entertaining and ultimately putting the nation at ease with disability.”

Find out more information about the award winning 4talent at 4talent.channel4.com

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