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Channel 4 launch new initiative to help mentor off screen disabled talent

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Channel 4 announces the launch of a new mentoring initiative for mid and senior level disabled talent working in TV production.

The broadcaster is looking for six deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent off screen freelancers working in TV production to become mentees. Only then will mentors be selected according to the person they are supporting, to make sure they are a good match and have the skills to really make a difference.

The scheme is called RISE and has been devised in partnership with TripleC/DANC (Disabled Artists Networking Community) who support and advance deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent people in the arts and media.

Channel 4 is committed to engaging and enabling disabled talent and has a strong track record in disability representation, leading the agenda and changing perceptions of disability.

Ally Castle Channel 4’s Creative Diversity and Disability Lead, says “We know that as an industry we have a serious lack of disabled people in senior decision-making roles. RISE will be a fantastic opportunity for disabled talent who are already somewhat established to be supported by some of the best creatives in broadcasting and beyond to progress to the next stage in their career.

“Too often our culture and practices in TV hold back fantastic disabled off-screen talent. Due to barriers like lack of support and adjustments, or unhelpful attitudes and assumptions they can simply get ‘stuck’. RISE participants will get encouragement and advice tailored to their particular needs, with the express aim of elevating them in their careers and ultimately getting more disabled talent into leadership positions.”

She adds: “At Channel 4, home of the Paralympics, as well as The Last Leg and Trip Hazard, we are very proud of our track record in supporting disabled talent both in front of and behind the camera. We are committed to acting as a force for good in the industry and are delighted to be able to support talented people of all backgrounds and lived experiences to progress.”

Cherylee Houston, TripleC DANC Co-Creative Director says: “We are absolutely delighted to partner with Channel 4 on this initiative which will make a real change to the presence of disabled talent across the board in our industry. We need deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people in key decision-making roles. Only this will ensure a sustainable change. Channel 4 has recognised this need and we expect that the off-screen production talent on this initiative will become some of the key decision makers of the future.”

Applications to the scheme are open until Monday 14 February 2022, and successful candidates will be mentored between April and December 2022. RISE is open to deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent candidates who have worked in TV for at least three years and have already progressed in their career. Full details of the scheme including entry criteria are below.

Channel 4 and TripleC DANC will recruit a mix of disabled and non-disabled mentors, from across the television, arts and media sectors.

Last year Channel 4 underlined its pioneering work with disabled talent across the TV sector through its ‘Engage & Enable’ disability strategy and has already delivered regular networking events for indies to meet with disabled production talent of all levels.

It also devised shareable best practice guidelines for indies and producers on hiring, including and progressing disabled production talent.

It has also launched 4Access, which is focused on boosting the inclusion of disabled off-screen talent in selected key C4 productions

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