ScreenSkills kicks off month-long training this week for 12 access coordinators to support the inclusion and workplace experience of disabled cast and crew.
Working with disability Bridge06, the ambition is for the individuals to be ready to join productions, initially high-end dramas, from October, as a step to establishing the role as a necessary part of production.
The programme builds on concerns raised by writer Jack Thorne at last year’s Edinburgh TV Festival and are a direct answer to his campaigning group Underlying Health Condition’s warning of the industry’s need to create the role of access coordinator.
The 12 participants – all of whom identify as deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent - will each be trained in how to work with heads of department and other teams to ensure best practice is followed in hiring, supporting and valuing all cast and crew on set.
This could include advising on scripts and terminology, the wording and legibility of shared documents and scripts, support for actors in auditions, and ensuring workplaces are fully accessible.
The training programme has been drawn up by disability consultants Simon Minty and Sarah Rennie with Bridge06 founder Sara Johnson and disability creative consultant Julie Fernandez, who was access coordinator on UKTV comedy pilot Perfect, which starts this week.
“The move to make this a paid role within a production team is a necessary and solid step towards systematic change,” said Johnson.
“The access coordinator will be an important cog in the wheel of solutions, guiding the broadcasting community to address the urgent need for a fully accessible industry across all touchpoints and genres.”