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The BBC has drawn up ambitions to become an ‘apprenticeship training agency’, kicking off with a project that commits millions of pounds to help small companies in Birmingham.

Director general Tim Davie told the Creative Cities Convention that the pilot scheme aims to establish how the BBC can work with partner organisations on apprenticeships and  determine how much to spend on training across the UK in the coming years.

“For the next two years, we will monitor who is coming into the industry, where the skills gaps are and will commit millions of pounds to make sure small companies in Birmingham can get into apprenticeship programmes,” he said.

“If this pilot is successful and we see a real boost for the creative industries, then we will begin to ask how far we can roll that out and what we can do with that budget.”

Davie said there is “absolutely no doubt" the creative industries have "profound" skills shortages”.

“Only this morning, today, I’ve been talking to people about some of the skills shortages, technical skills, production, accounting, all the various things in my sector you need to get production under way,” he said. “There’s actually real skill shortages.”

In its 2021-23 plan, the BBC pledged to give a “significant boost” to the number of apprenticeships it offers each year.

Davie said the BBC is talking with the DCMS and Department for Education about the scale of the proposals.

He said he envisaged the BBC “providing security” to junior execs on any nations and regions programming that gets wound down.

“We could provide a safety blanket so that a person could be reallocated or we could help with their earnings while a relocation is happening,” he added.

In its Across the UK initiative, the BBC aims to establish sustainable production centres, to help meet its commitment to make 60% of shows outside of London.

Davie also said he expected that over time, each of the BBC’s genre directors - Patrick Holland (factual), Shane Allen (comedy), Piers Wenger (drama) and Kate Phillips (entertainment) – will have members of their teams based outside of London.

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