How to use language to foster stronger, happier, more productive relationships.

Words: Simeon de la Torre, SIM7.

The language that an organisation uses in its content, copywriting and comms influences not just how it is perceived, but how it makes audiences feel. It’s a complex, nuanced arena, but there are a handful of golden rules to remember around using brand language that’s appropriate and inclusive.

First up: what’s DEI?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) aims to make everyone within an environment, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, ability, gender or sexual orientation, feel supported and welcome.

Why is it better to use inclusive language?

According to Deloitte, companies that embrace inclusivity and inclusive language have 22% lower turnover rates, 22% greater productivity and 27% higher profitability. Externally, those companies have 39% higher customer satisfaction.

Rule #1 Avoid certain ways of identifying people

Only use race, gender, gender identity, ability, age, sexual orientation, etc. to identify people when strictly necessary, otherwise doing so can draw attention to something about someone’s characteristics that might make them feel different or excluded.

Rule #2 Use people-first language

People-first language prioritises the individual. This is an especially useful point to remember when talking about people who have disabilities.

For example, it’s better to say ‘a person with a disability’ than ‘a disabled person’. The former implies that the disability is a secondary characteristic rather than a defining one. But as mentioned in #1, it’s best to simply avoid mentioning disability unless relevant or strictly necessary.

There are a few exceptions to this point. The deaf community, for instance, generally prefers the term ‘deaf person’ to ‘person with deafness’. If in doubt, it’s best to ask.

Rule #3 Be wary of connotations

Terms such as ‘sexual preference’ or ‘preferred pronouns’ can be problematic. ‘Preference’ implies choice, and that can create a false impression. It’s best to err on the side of caution and use the terms ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘pronouns’ instead.

Rule #4 Avoid inappropriate references

Try to avoid using terms such as ‘bipolar,’ ‘OCD,’ ‘ADHD’ or ‘ASD’ as metaphors, especially in a jokey context. These are real disabilities and disorders. Using their names to refer to things they aren’t can offend people who have them.

Rule #5 Use gender-neutral language

Yes, you may often use language with a specific audience in mind, but pronouns are generally best avoided.

When making a hypothetical point – ‘if he or she went for a walk’, for example – the ‘he or she’ clause is unnecessary, and including it can make non-binary, gender non-conforming or genderqueer folks feel excluded.

When in doubt or when using a pronoun is necessary, ‘they’ is a good choice. It’s gender-neutral and can be used to refer to an individual or a group, so has all bases covered.

Rule #6 Avoid universal phrases

Jargon is often best avoided and it’s a good idea to think before using idioms – not all translate well across cultures.

Rule #7 Avoid using your group as the reference group

Using your group as the reference group can imply it’s the norm and that other groups fall outside that norm. Terms like ‘non-white’, for example, imply that white people are the norm and everyone else, a deviation.

It’s best to take care when saying…

Guys

This term is best avoided when speaking to or referencing a group that contains non-male members.

Good alternatives: ‘Folks’, ‘you all’, ‘everyone’, ‘team’.

Girls/ladies/gals

If she’s over 18, she’s an adult. And take care when saying ‘ladies’ and ‘gals’, these terms can be patronizing. Good alternatives: ‘Women’, ‘people’.

Handicap/handicapped

Today, ‘handicapped’ is considered impolite.

Similarly, when talking about people with disabilities, avoid using terms like ‘afflicted by,’ ‘victim of’, ‘suffers from’, and ‘confined to a wheelchair’. ‘Challenged’, ‘differently abled’, and ‘specially abled’ are best avoided too.

Good alternatives: ‘Disabled’, ‘person with a disability’.

You might also consider…

Mentioning pronouns

Including pronouns – he/him, she/her, they/them – in email signatures can help non-binary, transgender and other folk feel more included.

Trigger warnings

If you’re going to publish content  that has the potential to trigger people, it’s a good idea to add a trigger warning to that content. Forewarning people about potentially offensive content can help prevent causing offence.

Writing for web accessibility

People with certain disabilities can have difficulty navigating online content. We can all help ensure the content we create is accessible. See our designing for accessibility cheat sheet for useful tips.

Keeping up-to-date

Inclusive language best practice is constantly evolving. Periodic refreshers are a great way to stay up to date. Taking a moment to think about how the language you’re going to use is inclusive often goes a long way, too.

To learn more about creating an inclusive brand, visit https://sim7creative.co.uk/ or get in touch with Sim (he/him): [email protected]

As we outlined in our new year message in January, a key focus at Bristol Creative Industries is boosting workforce diversity in creative businesses and helping to grow the talent pipeline for our members.

Our report, A creative force to be reckoned with: Unleashing the power of Bristol’s creative industries, found that accessing talent with the right skillsets was the biggest challenge facing more than a third of creative businesses in the south west. 

It also showed that increasing diversity and inclusion was a significant priority for six in 10 creative firms, but 21% admitted they were struggling to recruit talent from diverse backgrounds, and 48% wanted more help finding diverse employees from underrepresented groups.

In this post, we outline the initiatives in the Bristol Creative Industries Talent Programme which is focused on tackling those challenges.

If you’re not yet a BCI member, join here to take advantage of the member exclusive initiatives.  

If you’d like to join us as a BCI Talent Partner, read the final section of this post.

Equity, diversity and inclusion training for BCI members 

Research shows that diverse teams are more creative problem solvers, bringing fresh perspectives to solutions, against the echo-chamber effect that results when people in a business come from too-similar backgrounds. With a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, employees feel valued and that they belong.

To help Bristol Creative Industries members achieve this, we have partnered with The Hobbs Consultancy to provide on demand equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) e-learning. 

The CPD certified online course consists of modules to help you bring about positive change in your business, understand the key challenges in the way for different groups, and explore your own biases and how to overcome them.

The training modules take an in-depth look at different diversity and inclusion topics: race, disability, LGBTQ+, neurodiversity, gender (split into female leadership, masculinity, gender identity), age and social mobility in the workplace.

The price of the training for BCI members is £120+VAT. All profits will be ploughed back into our youth engagement activity.

To access this brilliant training opportunity, log into your Bristol Creative Industries account and click on the ‘members’ training’ section.

Opportunity to mentor high potential young people

We have to start engagement at school by raising the profile of the creative sector to a wider and more diverse audience. To do this, we’re developing ways to bring together creative business members and future talent through mentoring. 

We are thrilled to have launched a partnership with The Early Careers Foundation (ECF), a social mobility charity that works with young people from low-income backgrounds to ensure that talent and hard work are what determine their career success, not background.

Through its mentoring programme, ECF pairs employees from partner organisations with 16-18-year-olds for monthly hour-long mentoring sessions.

Thanks to our new partnership, BCI members can now become a mentor and support a young person in building their confidence, developing their employability skills and offering invaluable professional guidance.

Applications to become a mentor close on 1 August 2024. 

To find out more about how you can get involved, read this post

Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme

Our groundbreaking Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme with Bristol social enterprise Babbasa launched as a pilot in 2023. It is aimed at young people from diverse backgrounds wanting to gain more insight and real experience in the creative industries.

As well as benefiting the interns, the scheme also educates employers to help them build inclusive workspaces that are ready to welcome young people from low income and underrepresented backgrounds.

Brilliant agencies from the BCI member community stepped up to provide paid placements to a group of fantastic interns during the pilot which resulted in many successes including full time jobs following the placements. 

The programme has returned for 2024 with more creative businesses offering a wide range of roles in marketing, public relations, design, branding and advertising. 

We recently closed applications from potential interns for the second cohort and were delighted to see an increase in responses compared to last year. 

For the latest updates from the programme, keep an eye on our blog and social media (X, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram).

Influencing the curriculum and driving change

We have committed to an annual programme of round tables with key post 16 education providers in the region including colleges, academies and universities. 

Our aim is to promote creative careers to staff and career advisers, drive applications to our internship programme and explore how we can promote the creative industries to students already studying. 

We also have this regularly updated guide to creative industries-related further and higher education courses in Bristol and Bath to make young people more aware of their options. 

Become a Bristol Creative Industries Talent Partner

By joining the programme as a partner, you’ll help to fund all of our activities that support 

underrepresented groups entering the creative industries. Your support is vital to ensure we have a healthy and diverse talent pipeline.

For more details, contact Alli Nicholas, BCI membership and operations manager, at [email protected], or Lis Anderson, BCI co-chair, at [email protected]  

Save the date – Thursday May 9, 2024!

Mark your calendars because something exciting is coming your way! If you’re between the ages of 16 and 30, we’ve got an event tailor-made for you. Get ready to dive deep into the pressing issues of climate change and sustainability at our dynamic and engaging gathering.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store:

Interactive Workshops: Prepare to roll up your sleeves and get involved in hands-on workshops where you’ll learn practical skills like upcycling to make a positive impact on the environment.

Open Discussions: Your voice matters! Join in on open discussions where you can share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns about climate change in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

But wait, there’s more! This event isn’t just about sharing information; it’s about empowerment. We’re committed to making climate action accessible to everyone, especially young people from lower-income and marginalised communities.

Get ready to be inspired, connect with like-minded individuals, and take meaningful steps toward a sustainable future. Stay tuned for more details coming soon!

Together, let’s make a difference.

For ways to support and get involved, you can get in contact via email [email protected]

Register your interest (16-30)

Bristol Creative Industries is thrilled to launch a partnership with The Early Careers Foundation (ECF), a social mobility charity that works with young people from low-income backgrounds across the country, to ensure that talent and hard work are what determine their career success, not background.

Social inequality is a huge problem in the UK, with family wealth at birth (not IQ, race, or gender) still the most accurate predictor of future financial success. The Early Careers Foundation is committed to ensuring that talent, not background, is what determines a young person’s career success.

One of the Foundation’s initiatives is its Mentoring Programme, which pairs employees from corporate partner organisations with 16-18-year-olds from the organisation’s school partners for monthly hour-long mentoring sessions.

Volunteer to be a mentor and support young people

Thanks to this new partnership, we’re thrilled that Bristol Creative Industries members can volunteer to be a mentor to one of these high potential young people using the Foundation’s expertly designed resources to support building their confidence, developing their employability skills and offering invaluable professional guidance.

The Foundation does the leg work – covering the cost of your enhanced DBS check, running comprehensive training sessions and providing expertly designed resources to structure each session – so that the only ‘eligibility’ criteria is that you are enthusiastic, happy to share learnings from your own professional experience and crucially, committed to at least 10 months of mentoring sessions.

Mentor applications open on 2 April and close on 1 August. You can get started TODAY. Read through the ECF Mentor Prospectus Flyer (2024-25) and apply directly through this link (this can also be found at the bottom of the prospectus).

Please note that you need to be a Bristol Creative Industries member to take advantage of this exciting opportunity. If you’re not a member, join today.

Creating An Inclusive Workforce

Weston College is a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Centre for Excellence (1 of 4 in the whole UK) and a Queen’s Anniversary Prize winner for our outstanding inclusive practice. Within easy reach of Bristol and Somerset, located in North Somerset – you have access to a huge pool of untapped talent.

These accolades highlight that we have a wealth of knowledge and expertise which we’re keen to share with employers. Through Autism, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia and Mental Health Toolkits to Neurodiversity training and Conscious Inclusion workshops; Weston College is here to support all employers with attracting, retaining and investing in new talent.

Into work helps 16-24 year old’s find a sustainable route into employment that may have not be easily accessible due to many factors. Students With Special Educational Needs And/Disabilities want to work but are limited with options. Proving employers with the support, training and toolkits will not only open doors for young adults out of work but drive forward your ED&I goals.

Financial support is available for employers who take on someone with a disability through Access to Work and every learner will be supported by a trained Job Coach to ease interaction, transition and expectations.

The young person will be working for you, for free with the hope that you see the immediate benefits to opening your talent pool. Not only will it reduce recruitment costs but will improve reputation, benefit each employee and your retention rates will improve. 20% of the UK customer database have a disability, open up your doors to a a productive, motivated and effective team.

To talk through how you can support a young person into employment, get in touch today by contacting [email protected]

Make Exhibition from Towards Change!
Our Mission
Our project aims to reconsider and challenge how stereotypes are portrayed in advertising using a civic engaging approach. Civic insights could transform the advertising landscape and bring about meaningful change by creating tangible alternative ideas!
See LinkedIn page
“Towards Change”, invites the civic community to creatively confront and transform the advertising industry. By collectively reimagining banned adverts, we foster an inclusive platform for diverse voices, breaking away from the advertising industry’s exclusivity. This movement embodies the spirit of change through creativity, welcoming all to contribute to a more ethical advertising world.
What We’re Doing
We’ve selected 20 controversial adverts for their problematic content to undergo a creative transformation. Through a series of workshops engaging the community and future creatives, we dissect these adverts, discuss their impacts, and collaboratively reimagine them to convey positive messages.
☆Creative workshops revolutionize advertising quality★

Original banned ad

Reimagined and twisted advertisings from civic workshop
Why it is important
Every day, we’re bombarded with advertisements that, often subconsciously, propagate stereotypes and outdated societal norms. These portrayals can have a profound impact on our perceptions, behaviours, and the social fabric at large. Our project aims to challenge these narratives, providing alternative, stereotype-free adverts that reflect a more inclusive society.
What’s On
The culmination of our efforts will be an exhibition showcasing both the original and reimagined adverts, offering a stark visual dialogue on the power of advertising for social change

Exhibition Details
This exhibition is an educational journey that unravels the impact of stereotypes in advertising and celebrates the innovative solutions born from our workshops. Immerse yourself in a curated showcase of original and reimagined advertisements, highlighting the journey from controversial to inclusive messaging.
Speaker Session (18:00 – 19:00)

Speakers:
creative professionals
experts in marketing, advertising, and media
academic professors in gender and communications
This talk is particularly relevant for people working in marketing, PR, advertising, digital, and those in the creative industries who are looking to gain a deeper understanding of the inclusive communication landscape.
Networking Event(19:00 – 20:00)

For Students at University of Bristol:
There will be a chance to hear from guest speakers and an opportunity to network with creative and media experts. If you are taking part in the University of Bristol PLUS Award, then this networking session will count as one of your careers and employability workshops!

Join us in championing creativity, social responsibility, and transformative civic participation with an exhibition that marks a pivotal moment in advertising.
How You Can Help
Your financial contributions will breathe life into this ambitious project, covering the costs of hosting the exhibition, organising the speaker session, and facilitating the networking event.
Our supporters

By supporting us, you’re not just funding an event; you’re investing in the future of ethical advertising and empowering a community committed to diversity and inclusion.
Whether you’re seeking a career in the creative, communication, or media industries, a professional looking to explore innovative advertising solutions, or a civic-minded individual passionate about art and social issues, your support can make a significant difference.
Help us turn “Towards Change! Rethinking Representation in Advertising” from a vision into a reality. Together, we can inspire change and pave the way for a more inclusive and responsible advertising industry.
Our Team
Who are we? We are a Bristol based team consisting of international students and marketers, united by a shared passion for fostering a more inclusive world through advertising. Rooted in diverse backgrounds and cultures, our collective journey at the University of Bristol has been enriched by the guidance of esteemed academic professors, the supportive partnerships, and the collaborative spirit of various social sectors. Check out our website here to find out more!
Project Director

Hi, I’m Rika, I am project director to launch this to a more inclusive advertising world. I have launched this DE&I project with my scholarship-awarded ambitions friend of mine, aimed at generating alternative creative strategies for banned advertisements through civic engagement as the pivotal moment of my advertising career.
With a rich background in analyzing and consulting on over 100 global campaigns, my work at WPP group was a turning point, deepening my dedication to diversity and ethical advertising.

My journey doesn’t stop in the corporate world; I’m equally passionate about educating the next generation. As a freelance lecturer and a voice in the academic sphere, I’ve shared my expertise internationally, fostering a community of over 5,000 on social media.

Let’s embark on this journey together to reshape advertising. Make the exhibition real for a glimpse into the future of advertising, led by insights, ethics, and innovation.

🌸Towards Change Exhibition for Inclusive Advertising🌸

LinkedIn Event Page

We are thrilled to announce a showcase of civic powers to transform advertising content from controversial to inclusive messaging from our workshops we’ve conducted to the public every week.

See the fusion of social, academic, and advertising industry unravels the impact of stereotypes in advertising and provide a platform for dialogue, learning, and change.

This exhibition is proudly sponsored by Launch, a Google Premier Partner and two-time winner of Europe’s Best Small PPC Agency. Thanks to their generous support, admission is free, making it accessible to everyone interested in exploring this transformative display.

🌸Speaker Session (18:00 – 19:00)
Carol Watson, Chief Inclusion Officer at BCW ( Global Agency)
Dan Srokosz, Creative Director, AgencyUK
Megan Gibson, Paid Media Director, AgencyUK
Dr. Junko Yamashita, Professor at the University of Bristol
Ms. Samantha Ford, Marketing lecturer at the University of Bristol

🌸Comments are from
Polly Wyn Jones, Kantar Global Knowledge Manager, Creative & Media
Nendra van Wielink-Mohamed, Global Media Practitioner
Dr. Terrell Carver, Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bristol
Joyann Boyce, TedX Speaker, Founder AI Consultancy
Olu Osinoiki – 📸 Wedding Photographer

Home-cooks across the United Kingdom now have the opportunity to share their culinary creations with their communities as the online marketplace, All About The Cooks, extends its services nationwide. 

Following a successful launch in the South West, All About The Cooks has witnessed an enthusiastic response from consumers eager to purchase homemade food made by local people. Now, the innovative platform is accessible throughout the UK. 

Often compared to “Etsy for food,” All About The Cooks enables talented home-cooks to sell their dishes and bakes to people who live near them. Founder Claire Ladkin launched the business in Bristol in 2021, aiming to provide passionate cooks with a way to make money from their talent, in a way that fits in with the rest of their lives.  

The platform’s recognition soared after being named runners-up in the 2023 BBC Food & Farming Awards ‘Community Food Champion’ category, with a feature on BBC Morning Live showcasing its mission and impact. 

Claire explains “It’s like having your own website. Our cooks send their customers to their All About The Cooks page to choose, order and pay for their food. They have everything they need all in one place. No more back and forth on social media, WhatsApp groups and so on, or chasing up payments.”  

Aspiring cooks of all backgrounds are invited to join the platform, turning their passion for cooking into something more. Whether aiming for extra income to navigate the challenges of the cost-of-living crisis, or pursuing a full-fledged livelihood, All About The Cooks accommodates various aspirations and commitments.  

Home-cooks like Melissa, who spent 20 years in hospitality before setting up her own food business, Salha balancing cooking Sudanese dishes with caring for her four children, and Mrunal, an Aerospace engineer selling family-inspired Indian curries as a side hustle, showcase the platform’s empowering ethos, enriching communities with unique culinary offerings. 

The process to start is straightforward: interested individuals sign up on the All About The Cooks website, where they receive guidance on setting up their virtual storefronts and meeting the necessary food hygiene requirements. From helping cooks to find their first customers to managing orders and payments, All About The Cooks simplifies the entire selling process. 

Membership is free, with the platform only taking a small commission from orders. New members enjoy a two-month commission-free period to get used to the website’s features and functionalities. By joining, home-cooks can focus more on their craft and less on administrative tasks, while also gaining access to a supportive community of fellow cooks, and valuable marketing resources and tips to boost their businesses. 

For more information, visit the ‘Become a Cook’ page on the All About The Cooks website. www.allaboutthecooks.co.uk 

 

A new skills training programme to support creatives looking to break into behind-the-camera roles on scripted film and high-end TV productions made in the West of England will launch later this month.

It comes after Bristol City Council’s Film Services have secured almost £300,000 (£299,818) from the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, led by Metro Mayor Dan Norris, to deliver an industry-led West of England Film & High-End TV Workforce Development Programme to help creatives make their impact and find new career opportunities.

Delivered by The Bottle Yard Studios, Bristol UNESCO City of Film and Bristol Film Office – the three departments that make up Bristol City Council’s Film Services – the year-long programme will be open to regional participants from backgrounds currently underrepresented in the industry. Tailored training will demystify the world of scripted production and prepare trainees for entry level crew positions, with the aim of strengthening the pipeline of diverse local crew talent.

The investment comes at an important time of continued growth in the West of England’s film and high-end TV sector, with an estimated 21,000 new crew forecast to be needed across the UK by 2025.*

Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who leads the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, said: “The West of England is fast becoming the Hollywood of the UK. Only recently, huge names like Disney+ have checked in to The Bottle Yard Studios’ new state-of-the-art and West of England Mayoral Authority-funded TBY2 facility – that’s a massive vote of confidence in our world-leading creative industries. But to keep up the pace, we need to tap into the extraordinary wealth of creative talent we have in the West. That means supporting them with world-class training to create that new home-grown creative generation for the sector.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be launching this programme fully funded by the Mayoral Combined Authority I lead, to give West of England residents the opportunities they need to thrive in film and high-end TV – something the West does so well. It gives a platform to the next generation of talent who will shape our region’s bright creative future. So, to those considering a career in film and TV: I want to hear from you!”

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor of Bristol with responsibility for City Economy Finance & Performance said: “It’s brilliant to see Bristol’s thriving film and TV sector in the spotlight once again and we are delighted to secure funding to further support this vital industry, as well as the talented people who bring Bristol’s creative sectors to life.

“Bristol remains a world-leading hub for film and TV production, with some the industry’s biggest names choosing our city to produce their shows. Bristol’s new state-of-the-art film studio, The Bottle Yard’s TBY2 facility, has already played host to some of the UK’s most exciting productions since opening its doors in 2022 supported by £12 million in funding. However, as the sector continues to go from strength to strength, more targeted investment into training and developing the next generation of homegrown production talent is becoming increasingly necessary. This industry-led development programme will tap into the deep pool of creative talent here in the West Country and open new career pathways to underrepresented groups who may never have had the opportunity to take their first steps into this fast-growing sector.”

Laura Aviles, Head of Film, Bristol City Council says: “We’ve long made the case that targeted skills investment for scripted crew in our region is essential if we’re to develop this often-overlooked segment of the screen workforce. Film and high-end TV production levels in Bristol and the West have been increasing steadily in past years, supported by The Bottle Yard’s expansion and the region’s Film Offices facilitating more productions on location. With this success comes the opportunity to grow our local talent base – which is crucial when the existing crew base hits capacity, something we anticipate as we move on from last year’s US writers and actors strikes. We are delighted to have secured this funding to deliver a programme designed to help local entrants understand and navigate the fast-paced world of production they are not yet familiar with, to support them in identifying the right opportunities and having the confidence to step into industry roles that suit their talents and ambitions.”

Natalie Moore, Bristol UNESCO City of Film Manager, says: “Developing a local skills pipeline for scripted crew is a key priority in our Bristol UNESCO City of Film Action Plan. Opening up opportunities for regional talent from a wide range of backgrounds makes for a more sustainable and resilient industry base. With so many career opportunities that can and should be made available to people living within the region, we want to make access routes into the film and TV industry easier to navigate and provide support to build a more diverse local workforce. This programme will create a clear pathway to help underrepresented talent from Bristol and the West into scripted production careers, demystifying the industry and preparing them for employment with the right level of support and guidance.”

The programme, which is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, will feature a series of sessions repeated for three intakes throughout 2024, including a ‘Get to Know the Industry’ webinar, an Industry Induction Day at The Bottle Yard Studios, and a specially designed 5-week training scheme to equip potential new entrants for a career in film and high-end TV production. Training will focus on confidence-building, set etiquette and work-readiness, communication skills and teamwork, wellbeing and resilience, as well as digital and financial literacy and how to find work as a freelancer.

The programme will aim to engage up to 750 people in total across its different strands of activity, with a view to 45 undertaking the 5-week training course that will equip them to go on to get jobs. Those who complete the full training will be added to a New Entrants Portfolio given to film and high-end TV productions filming in the region.

The programme will also launch a digital New Entrants Hub, designed to signpost anyone in the West of England interested in a career in film or high-end TV to useful resources, training and development opportunities that are relevant to the region.

Applications will be invited from residents of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire aged 17 and above**. Underrepresented target groups will include young people aged 17-25**, those not in education, employment or training, under-employed people and those on zero-hour contracts, women, people from the global majority, disabled people, people living with mental health issues, carers and care leavers. An Access Fund will be provided to support any participants who face a financial barrier to taking part.

The West of England Film & High-End TV Workforce Development Programme has been devised following recommendations of the BFI Skills Review (June 2022) and Olsberg’s Workforce Development Report commissioned by Bristol City Council and The Bottle Yard Studios (July 2023). The first call for applications will open in January 2024.

The West of England Mayoral Combined Authority is working in partnership with Bristol City Council’s Film Services (comprising The Bottle Yard Studios, Bristol UNESCO City of Film and Bristol Film Office) to deliver the Mayoral Priority Skills Fund. This fund provides flexible grants to meet current priority skills gaps in the region. This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Upcoming productions recently filmed in Bristol and the West of England include Jilly Cooper adaptation Rivals (Disney+), series three of spy thriller Alex Rider (Amazon FreeVee), series three of Stephen Merchant’s The Outlaws (BBC/Amazon Prime Video), comedy drama Boarders (BBC Three), teen crime thriller A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (BBC Three) and series five of children’s drama Malory Towers (CBBC). Titles currently in production in the region include Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light (BBC/Masterpiece PBS) and romantic comedy The Road Trip (Paramount+).

On 24 November, we celebrated the first group of interns who took part in the Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme with Babbasa as part of the OurCity2030 Pathway into Creative & Tech.

We had a wonderful night celebrating everyone’s achievements over the past six months. The graduation event, at the Gather Round co-working space in Bristol, brought together the brilliant interns plus many of the programme contributors, friends and family to reflect on the successes and learnings from the scheme.

We launched the programme earlier this year. It is aimed at young people aged 18-24 from diverse backgrounds wanting to gain more insight and real experience in the creative industries.

Two of the biggest challenges facing the sector are a long-term skills shortage and a lack of workforce diversity. This was highlighted by Bristol Creative Industries’ A Creative Force to Be Reckoned With report which found that increasing diversity and inclusion is a significant priority for six in 10 creative firms in Bristol, but almost half said they want help finding diverse talent from underrepresented groups.

The internship programme was designed specifically to tackle those issues and create more inclusive workplaces. We were delighted that brilliant agencies from the BCI member community stepped up to provide three month placements to the 14 interns:

At the end of the first placement, three of the interns used the experience to explore other projects, while 11 stayed to undertake a second placement.

What happens next: Five of the interns got jobs

As the pilot programme comes to an end, here’s an update on how taking part in the initiative impacted on the interns and what they plan to do next:

Abdifatah Kheyre is going travelling for a while but has some exciting plans to launch a new project with a friend.

Abdur-Rahman Shafi has been offered a continuation at his first placement at Noble where he will be doing an internship extension, with the view for being promotion to digital marketing executive after six months.

Ahmed Ismail is considering his options in design and software development.

Amy Smith has been offered a role as production runner at Aardman on an upcoming project.

Kayjay McDonald-Ferguson is looking to continue with his freelancing projects in design and strategy and is set to start a bootcamp coding course.

Laurel Beckford has been working with Babbasa on the organisation’s social media campaigns and is looking for further work in film production and social media.

Mohd Wani has gone on to study an MA in information experience design at The Royal College of Art.

Omar Ibrahim has started a front-end web development bootcamp and will continue to study whilst trying to get more work experience. He is looking for a junior level role in front-end web development.

Priscilla Kodjo is staying on at her placement at Time Machine Designs as a freelance concept artist.

Sara Matloob has applied to study with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and hopes to build a career focused on public relations and the experiential sector.

Sophie Kirk is continuing to pursue her career in film and television art departments, with her improved graphic design skills opening up more opportunities for freelance work.

Seren Spooner was offered a job as a junior designer at Armadillo, her first placement.

Touka Mostafa led an EDI audit at one of her placements and delivered her findings to the board. She has recently accepted an account executive role at Armadillo, one of the participating agencies.

Yasmina El Khatib hopes to continue her education and study a modelmaking course with a focus on fabrication. For now, she is looking for a design and creative role to allow her to save for her masters.

Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme intern graduation

The impact the programme had on the interns

We asked some of the interns to reflect on taking part in the programme.

”The programme helped me find myself, be a better human and chase my dreams.”
Abdifatah Kheyre

“This internship really has made my dream career happen. The continued support throughout has been great. I have also made some friends that I will have for life.”
Amy Smith

”I took many learnings from the experience, but above all I learnt the importance of being an active learner. In a work setting it is important that you can communicate with the different departments and not be afraid to ask for what you want. In both agencies I felt comfortable to be myself and felt listened to. I like that the internship was tailored to what I needed.”
Kayjay McDonald-Ferguson

”Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always a straight path, and I was never comfortable to put my hand up and say I want to learn more. But I have to say, I’m so glad I sat in the uncomfortable space for a little bit because I pushed past that point, I managed to develop and grow in so many different ways. ”
Touka Mostafa

”I loved seeing how many agencies were interested in diversity and inclusion and I really enjoyed the networking opportunities that came with the internship programme. I also enjoyed learning new skills during our Friday sessions and watching all of the interns develop new skills that they’re proud of.”
Sara Matloob

Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme cohort one: A short film

For more from the interns, participating agencies and other who took part in the programme, watch this brilliant short film: 

The experiences of the participating agencies

The Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme is not possible without the fantastic agencies who take part and provide placements for the young people to gain valuable experience.  

Here, some of the agencies reflect on their experiences:   

“The best businesses need the best talent. The best talent is diverse. This programme has helped us collectively engage that talent.”
Nina Edmunds,
Halo

“We’ve always aspired to have an internship programme that promotes diversity and inclusion and encourages the community to open more doors, yet time and resources have been a barrier to achieving this. By joining forces with Bristol Creative Industries, Babbasa and other member agencies, we were able to make it happen.”
Lucy Rees, Newicon

“Collaborating with peers from other participating creative agencies has been a great experience. It has allowed us to actively contribute to shaping the program while exchanging ideas and learning from one another, particularly in areas around HR, people & culture, and innovative working practices.”
Anthony Butterfield,
Aer Studios

“We wanted to be challenged in our DE&I efforts. We hoped this scheme would help us push forward on our learning and DE&I journey and it has done exactly that.”
Abigail Croft,
Diva

“Our intern was really keen to learn all the different roles within the agency and really engaged in everything she was doing. Seeing her confidence grow each week, so she was asking the right questions to allow her to execute the task in front of her was a real highlight. The fact we could see the talent was there enough to offer her a job shows what an impact she made, and that is the true highlight.”
Jeremy Bourton,
Armadillo

“This amazing opportunity provides a springboard for young people with a paid placement that can really make a difference to their professional development. On the other side of the coin, it’s made me a more rounded professional and helped me to evolve.”
Matt Woodman,
Atomic Smash

“The BCI Internship Programme is a golden opportunity to partner with community-facing organisations. It is a real opportunity to learn as well as teach, whilst being supporting by BCI who follow the interns through the whole process.”
Ceilia Hunt, Aardman Animations

Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme intern graduation

All of the interns are now Bristol Creative Industries members. Please do reach out to them if you are looking for collaborations or for young people to fill junior roles. We will also be welcoming them to Bristol Creative Industries events in 2024, so you will get a chance to meet them.

We look forward to welcoming back the cohort as ambassadors for the programme in 2024 and to help inspire the next group of interns.

Want to get involved and offer placements to interns?

Conversations for the 2024 Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme have begun with Babbasa as part of the next OurCity2030 Pathway into Creative & Tech.

If you run a creative business in Bristol and are interested in hearing more about how to get involved, contact Bristol Creative Industries membership manager Alli Nicholas on [email protected]

Big thanks to @eljaybriss for the images.