The BBC has revealed plans to shift hundreds of jobs in key departments out of London and invest in local reporting jobs and apprenticeships.
Under proposals that its 22,000 employees were briefed on today, roles will be moved out of the capital and into towns and cities including Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, and Salford – which will become its main base for its digital and technology teams.
BBC Studios’ locations in Bristol, Cardiff, and Glasgow will be expanded and half of its news teams will be based outside of London, with the aim of becoming more “story-led and audience-centric”.
It plans to establish a “new generation” of more than 100 reporters based in towns and areas that have “never benefitted from any regional TV presence to tell the stories of a changing UK”.
It also expects to double its apprenticeship intake by recruiting 1,000 apprentices a year across the UK and piloting an “apprentice training agency” in the West Midlands.
Tim Davie, BBC director-general, said: “Our mission must be to deliver for the whole of the UK and ensure every household gets value from the BBC. These plans will get us closer to audiences, create jobs and investments, and develop and nurture new talent.
“Over the last year, the BBC – which has been an essential part of the UK’s culture, democracy, and creativity for almost a century – has helped inform, educate and entertain all four nations, as we have collectively faced some of our toughest moments in recent history.
“Now, as we look to the future, we must play our part in supporting social and economic recovery; rebuilding the creative sector, and telling the stories that need to be heard from all corners of the UK.”
According to the National Union of Journalists, the proposals will result in 600 job losses at BBC News. It had previously earmarked 450 jobs to go in the news as part of an £800m savings exercise across the whole of the corporation.
NUJ national broadcasting organizer Paul Siegert said: “We welcome more diversity and creating more content out of London is a good thing, as is an extra investment in apprenticeships. However, it’s strange that at the same time the BBC is talking about the importance of getting out of London and investing in the regions as a means of better serving the audience, it has also axed 450 posts in English regions and cut £25m from that budget.
“Are jobs in Cardiff, Bristol, or Leeds more important than jobs in Southampton, Tunbridge Wells, or Norwich? How is making existing staff in Leeds redundant while at the same time moving other jobs from London to Leeds cost-effective or getting closer to the audience?”
Other proposals include:
- The creation of more than 100 digital engineering jobs outside London to support news product development and online editorial.
- Consideration of recommendations made by the Northern Ireland Screen and the Northern Ireland Executive to provide a tailored apprenticeship and training program for a diverse range of younger entrants to the industry.
- The establishment of new partnerships to support skills and development opportunities at a local level, especially in the North and Midlands.
- Plans to improve diversity by offering 20 funded bursaries for the National Film and Television School.
The BBC’s plans were announced as KPMG revealed research that found the corporation makes a significant economic contribution across the UK. For every one job directly created by the BBC, a further 1.7 roles are established in the wider economy.
News Source: Personnel Today