If you are a regular reader of Able Magazine you will have seen that Turner has been advertising for several years to encourage more talented disabled people to apply for jobs at its central London headquarters. The company is behind household names including CNN, Cartoon Network, TCM and newer brands like Adult Swim and TruTV and its Turner For All campaign is designed to see that the staff are as diverse as its audiences.
Surveys show that it does have a very diverse workforce but one group which is not as well represented as Turner would like is people with disabilities – which is why the company funds a variety of attractive schemes and initiatives to try and redress the balance.
talented disabled people to attend Edinburgh’s high level training schemes and meet the industry stars. You may remember the interview in Able Magazine (April 2014) with a young disabled man they sponsored who has since been working with Ant and Dec and on Celebrity Big Brother, carving a very successful career for himself. The Festival provides an intensive introduction to working in the TV industry and the people they send each year spend four days learning practical TV making skills from top programme makers and finding out a lot about the industry while making some very useful contacts.
Turner is a member of the Creative Diversity Network and works with the BBC, ITV, C4 and the other major broadcasters on a variety of diversity initiatives including the Open Newsroom scheme. It opens its doors for disabled people to come in and make the news: they pick the stories, go out and record interviews, report, write and even anchor a show. The team are invited to apply for internships or CNN’s Job Shadow scheme which is designed to give disabled people with an ambition to work in TV news a real insight into every area of the newsroom. (Have a look at CNN.com and search for Aspiring Journalists)
The company’s Adult Swim brand sponsored the animation section of the recent Oska Bright Film Festival which aims to represent the brightest and best disabled talent from around the world. Adult Swim’s brand manager, Mark Taynton presented the award for the best animation and was very impressed by the entries.
As well as this type of public awareness Turner promotes the importance of diversity to its staff internally with frequent campaigns and opportunities to get involved with activities. Edi Smockum who found and trained the extraordinary disabled talent for the 2012 Paralympic coverage on Channel 4, and Andy Walker, the paralysed actor from Emmerdale, have both given lunchtime talks to staff amply demonstrating how successful disabled people both in front and behind the cameras can be.
This year Turner will be revealing some new plans to encourage applications from disabled people and is working with a major disability organisation on a scheme for young disabled people starting out on their careers – so look out for more details in the coming months.