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BBC Prefers Skills To Postcodes

Auntie wants the best, local or not

Published on January 17th 2012.

BBC Prefers Skills To Postcodes

THIS story first appeared on our partner website How-do

BBC North has responded to criticism that it’s appointed just 26 people from Salford saying that it does not “recruit by postcode, but rather based on an applicant’s skills and experience.”

At the time of the FOI request, there were 1846 BBC staff at MediaCityUK, 680 of these were newly recruited roles.

Of the 26 Salford recruits, 8 of these are 'ambassadors' - an apprenticeship scheme for teenagers from the local community.  There are also 117 existing employees already living in the city.

The figures were released under two separate Freedom of Information requests by the MEN and The Guardian's, The Northerner Blog.

At the time of the FOI request, there were 1846 BBC staff at MediaCityUK, 680 of these were newly recruited roles.

“We believe that this is a promising start. The BBC has recruited from across the North of England based on skills and experience not by postcode. Additionally initiatives such as the ambassador and apprenticeship programmes offer local residents the chance not only to gain valuable entry level experience but permanent jobs as well,” said Ken Lee, HR director, BBC North.

A spokesperson said that Balfour Beatty had also recruited 90 Salford residents and 30 from Greater Manchester to work at the 3 BBC buildings at MediaCityUK. In addition 16 apprentices have been employed, but these were from Greater Manchester as those applying from Salford were unsuccessful in the interviews.

“Additionally with another 1,000 new posts due to move to BBC North this will create more job opportunities,” added the spokesperson.
When the BBC set up its online job site, an estimated 66k people applied.

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33 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2012.

This story is wrong. The MEN clearly states in its article that it obtained these figures. Surely it didn't "obtain" them by reading a Guardian blog, did they?

Nice to see the MEN joining the southern media in BBC bashing over the move to Manchester. After all, why talk up something which has seen five major departments, with a channel to follow, moving to your patch when it is SO much easier to have a pop. This is the second (non) story in the space of a week the MEN has done having a go at the BBC. Why don't you join in, Mancon? They're an easy target after all.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 17th 2012.

Wonder how many locals from Chadderton, the MEN (Trinity Mirror) took on after moving there?

As for The Guardian, dearie dearie me!
Sold Manchester out (civic pride & history etc) to a city of London conglomerate, implicated in phone hacking. All to protect their cosy jobs in London, eh? Geez, Manchester's initial trustees of the Scott Trust, must all be spinning in their graves??

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2012.

There seems to be a popular misconception that the BBC and anybody else on MediaCity has a responsibility - nay, a duty - to employ people from Salford, instead of the best people for the job.

Where else does that happen? The Beeb is publicly funded - employing on proximity rather than ability would be irresponsible.

As with much of Greater Manchester, it's an issue of ensuring local people have the sufficient skills and education. That is a matter for local councils.

Maybe Blears would like to tackle that issue instead of trying for another easy PR points win?

Having MediaCity is good for Salford and will hopefully have an impact of the aspirations of local people. But it doesn't matter who the employer is - if you ain't good enough you ain't getting the job.

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2012.

You also need to consider that those tallented people recruited outside greater manchester and the northwest will likely move to the area. This brings skills into the region a definate benefit.

Eddy RheadJanuary 17th 2012.

There is the small matter of the millions of pounds spent by Salford City Council, at a time when they can ill afford it, to bring Media City to fruition. The justification for this dubious spending has always been because it will benefit the people of Salford. Ridiculous figures like '15 000 new jobs' have been floated.
As it is it, with regards benefitting Salford people, it all looks like a ridiculous vanity project and Media City is becoming off limits to them, both physically and figuratively.

9 Responses: Reply To This...
SmittyJanuary 17th 2012.

Why is it ridiculous Eddy? Salford have done a bang-up job with MediaCity. There were lots of naysayers about something like Spinningfields which is now thriving and I would say employs (finger in the air) at least 10,000 people that simply weren't there a decade ago, as well as hundreds of residents. Why is it daft to suggest similar things at MediaCity? But, if you're an expert of major regeneration projects and have the experience, skill and evidence to prove Salford Council wrong, I'm sure they would like to hear it.

I actually find it quite exciting that we've got such a major wedge of the BBC right here in our city.

Eddy RheadJanuary 17th 2012.

Salford City Council need to reassess their priorities. MediaCity benefits an awful lot of people who do not live in or contribute to Salford's wider economy.
If Salford City Council had spent a proportionate amount of money and resources across the city as they have done to help Peel and the BBC then i wouldnt have a problem. As it is Salford Quays/ Media City is a bejewelled crown sat on top of head of pox ridden pauper.

AnonymousJanuary 18th 2012.

Sub Salford S**r nonsense from you there Eddie, disappointing. Do you think it is more effective trying to raise the skills and aspirations of a kid from Broughton when the employment opportunities are on his door step or hundreds of miles away in London? This is not an either / or situation. You need programmes that support skills, schools and social inclusion (of which there are plenty) but you also need large capital intensive investments that support job creation too, otherwise all you are doing is encouraging people to leave. Bigger picture please.

AnonymousJanuary 18th 2012.

All that said I'm uncomfortable as anyone with the idea of shovelling public money into the pockets of rich developers like Peel to ensure these developments happen. It is right to scrutinise the arrangements to make sure we get maximum value for money but when the discourse in the media and the actions of national politicians is to constantly denigrate, undermine and minimise the role of the public sector is it any wonder we end up with massive market failures where large corporations have us over a barrel?

Eddy RheadJanuary 18th 2012.

I dont have a problem with 'large capital intensive investments' but it would better if they were more realistically suited to the skill sets and aspirations of your average Salfordian. I think its a bit patronising to assume that a 'kid from Broughton' is just dying to work for CBeebies and that is the be all and end all for them.
My problem is that Salford City Council have poured resources and been seduced by the glamour of MediaCity when the investment could have been better spent attracting industries to other parts of Salford that desperately need it and create jobs that Salfordians actually want and frankly are more likely to get than unattainable jobs in 'the media'.

tJanuary 18th 2012.

Let's not forget the tax they'll be collecting from the Beeb et al in a couple of years. MediaCity is going to be worth loads to the council and I'd expect that to benefit the councillors loads, and the salford people.

Eddy RheadJanuary 18th 2012.

Bit of a Freudian slip there T? You arent implying Salford elected members will benefit directly from this 'tax' they will be collecting are you?

AnonymousJanuary 19th 2012.

What a horribly patronising and mean spirited attitude towards the people of Salford, Eddy. I don't think anyone assumes that mediacity is the be all and end all, nor that it is the only place Salfordians should work. But to firstly put jobs in the "media" on some kind of special elitist pedestal, then to assert that local kids shouldn't aspire to that kind of work is frankly ludicrous and insulting and is usually the preserve of crap journalists from either extremity of the political spectrum.

Aside from that, mediacity clearly offers much more than jobs for aspiring kids tv presenters. It represents opportunities in IT, production, facilities management, project management, administration, retail, hospitality, engineering, R&D, graphic design, construction... Long term, sustainable and diverse employment opportunities and arguably a better use of public money than smallerscale, more piecemeal investments spread across a wider area.

Eddy RheadJanuary 19th 2012.

I admire your idealism but its clear from the facts that Salford people clearly arent qualified, for whatever reason, to work at MediaCity.
I think you are missing my point. Ill repeat it one more time. I resent the amount of money and resources spent by Salford City Council for the seemingly marginal returns enjoyed by the people who are ultimately paying for it - the people of Salford.
I'd rather they had given the money to Morrisons.

EngelsJanuary 17th 2012.

Whatever happened to the free market? Are politicians now developers, and are employers obliged to adhere to a rationed allotment of staff??
Have we all not got better and more positive things to do?

1 Response: Reply To This...
It's the city, duffusJanuary 18th 2012.

You have quite clearly never read Engels...

Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 17th 2012.

MediaCityUK being in Manchester area is the best news any provincial area has had in two decades. There is no bad - nothing - attached to the BBC move up here. NOTHING. We support the move north because the ripples will wash out wider and wider benefiting thousands in the NW. As for Salford, most people had no idea where it was outside a fifty mile radius of the city until the BBC kept talking about the big leap north. Nor is Salford some weird isolated state, but part of the NW. More jobs will follow for Salford, it's inevitable. Just as they'll follow for the wider region.

Simon TurnerJanuary 17th 2012.

Felicity Goodey, Chair of Central Salford URC, claimed at the MIPIM conference in France in 2011 that "something in the order of 20,000 jobs" would be created for local people by the Media City project. As Mr Rhead says, the inducements given by Salford Council and others were huge.

Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 17th 2012.

Simon, politicians aren't stupid, the inducements were huge because the rewards are huge

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Eddy RheadJanuary 17th 2012.

For who?

Eddy RheadJanuary 17th 2012.

Or should that be 'For whom?' ?

AnonymousJanuary 18th 2012.

I have no problem people without the skills from Salford not being taken on by the BBC. I do have a problem that my money is paying for people who live in London to travel up to Manchester, stay in hotels and then go home, just because they refuse to live in the North. I lived in the South for many years, its not that a big deal.

1 Response: Reply To This...
anneiaJanuary 20th 2012.

Anon et al
possibley the bigger picture 'why could the unskilled people not be given the tools to become skilled' with the BBC
just a thought from an ex Salfordian.

Simon SmithJanuary 18th 2012.

Scrap the licence fee.

I don't want to contribute to the BBC's rubbish wherever it is made and whatever the postocdes of the people who make it.

I've no objection to people paying the BBC for dross like Eastenders, but that should be private agreement, and it is ridiculous for the government and the criminal law to be involved

2 Responses: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerJanuary 18th 2012.

@Stalin Smith

So you want a Berlusconi-style media society, where everyone gets what you pay for?

And when the bosses get itchy fingers, they just might run for PM and still run their TV stations?

Are you nuts?

An unbiased public broadcaster is essential in any civilized society, just like independant courts are.

The licence fee will not break your bank, so what is your problem?

Simon SmithJanuary 19th 2012.

I'd rather a Berlusconi type character make dross like Eastenders, Casualty, Flog It!, Cash in the Attic, Celebrity Cash in the Attic etc etc and sell it to willing customers than have it force-sold to me by the government.

90 plus % of what the BBC does is exactly the same type of rubbish which the commercial sector makes, and I don't see why a tax is either necessary or ethical to fund it.

The state should regulate trash TV and radio, not take an active and large role in its mass maufacture.

The state heavily and increasingly regulates tobacco, alcohol, junk food, pornography and other products which are potentialy harmful.

That's why it is so odd that the government actually mass manufactures junk TV and radio with £3 billion per year raised by the tax on TV use.

AnonymousJanuary 18th 2012.

Simon, Simon, Simon. Perhaps you and your Amazing Dancing Bear should up sticks and move to a land that is less complex. One where you can pay for your turnips and be sure that you're getting a turnip and nothing else. The BBC represents what we as a small island do well. If you don't like this and would prefer a nation in which the discourse is dominated by the likes of Fox News then off you go. The BBC is not perfect but it is representative. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8zI5xjwKYw. Good song. Randy Newman. I didn't know that until now.

Leigh McLaughlinJanuary 20th 2012.

Ah, the dangers of a porous labour market.

John NuttallJanuary 20th 2012.

The small minded demonisation of Peel in this discussion is incredibly tedious. To have the balls to commit millions of their own money to a project like this at the height of a recession is incredible. The BBC section of Media City is less than 5% of the whole development. Creating a world class site for tv, film, gaming, software can only be good for Salford and Greater Manchester. I have a software company myself and am seriously considering locating to Media City for the next phase of our expansion due to the infrastructure and synergy of sharing a location with a large number of other media companies.
Public money is constantly poured into the South East on shite like the Milennium Dome and the Olympics, we should be overjoyed that this time it's going to the North West

1 Response: Reply To This...
anneiaJanuary 20th 2012.

john your so right, heaven forbid that we up north should get anything so prestigious as the BBC, or the trafford centre.
We in the North are given less money compared to the southern side of the country known faCT so why not.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJanuary 20th 2012.

John you are so right. Manchester, Salford and so forth are all winners in this. It's very hard to understand how anybody in this region can be against it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
GimboidJanuary 20th 2012.

Chips on shoulders the size of the Ardwick Green boulder and expectations that everything should be laid on for people.

Geoff BeaconJanuary 31st 2012.

Beware Salford the BBC is credentialist. Anton Stark kindly contributed this to an old website of mine.

“I left school at 18. I took three A levels but as I was moving house and starting a new job, I have never discovered if I passed or what grades I got. I am now 35 and have worked all the time since except for one month when the company I worked for went bust.

I started as a retail assistant in a photo shop. I then got a job in London working for a photographer for two years before returning North to work in a photographic studio in Leeds. After five years, the studio went bust and I started my own business, which become so successful I have saturated my particular market.
While I was working in London, I applied to the BBC for the position of trainee cameraman. Out of hundreds of applicants I survived three interviews and got down to the final dozen. I remember that there were about as many jobs as final interviewees. I was offered a place by letter shortly afterwards.

Within days I received a phone call to double check my physics O level result. I had a C grade but BBC Recruitment insisted on a B grade. They had initially misread the CV and thought I had a B. So no job. They did say I could reapply the following year with a B grade in O level physics and I would be offered a job.
Of course, I followed other avenues.”

On another website I have a piece that features Greg Dyke. (http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/east-heslington-tv/ ). Of the qualifications he had for his first jobs it says

“Lucky for Greg Dyke that the Hillingdon Mirror and the Slough Evening Mail were not credentialist.”

My guess is the BBC would have rejected the young Greg and he would have never become their boss.

Salford beware.

Geoff Beacon

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