Jacinta Taylor, Daily Mail, June 19, 2021
The BBC has sparked a discrimination row after only allowing people from ethnic minorities to apply for a trainee position.
The broadcaster is advertising a one-year, £17,810 trainee production management assistant role with its Science Unit in Glasgow, but the position is ‘only open to black, Asian and ethnically diverse candidates’.
Positive discrimination is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010, but ‘positive action’ is allowed for trainee and internship roles in areas where there is under-representation.
The advert was posted online by Creative Access, a company that aims to boost the number of ethnic minorities working in the creative, media and arts industries.
Whoever gets the post will have the chance to work on popular BBC shows including Springwatch, The One Show and The Truth About series.
The advert by Creative Access says: ‘The successful candidate will be someone with a desire to build a career in the TV industry and a demonstrable interest in BBC Studios.’
A trainee researcher position with the Corporation’s Bristol-based Natural History Unit was also recently advertised as being open only to candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Last night, the BBC would not disclose how many training roles were similarly advertised, but a spokesman said: ‘The BBC is a welcoming, inclusive organisation committed to representing and reflecting our audiences. We support a scheme organised by Creative Access, an independent organisation dedicated to increasing diversity in the creative industries, which provides development roles, fully in line with the Equality Act.’
The BBC has previously talked of its ‘pride’ in helping people from under-represented groups get their first break into the media. Some 18 per cent of all highest earners now come from black and ethnic minority backgrounds – a rise of six per cent in the past four years.
BBC director general Tim Davie has said that the lack of diversity among its top-paid stars means the broadcaster ‘has more work to do’ on the issue.
Earlier this year, the BBC published its Diversity And Inclusion Plan, with a commitment to ensure its workforce comprises 50 per cent women, 20 per cent black and ethnic minority and 12 per cent disabled, to better reflect UK society. It said that it also offers placements to other under-represented sectors of society and aimed to improve social mobility by investing in apprenticeships and offering placements to ‘those at mid-career level’.
Speaking when the Diversity And Inclusion Plan was launched, Mr Davie said: ‘We must – from top to bottom – represent the audiences we serve.
‘We have made some big improvements, but we want and need to go further. This plan will ensure we are a modern, progressive, welcoming organisation.’
Joe Ventre, digital campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘BBC bosses shouldn’t be supporting race-based recruiting with taxpayers’ money. Taking an approach like this further undermines confidence in the Corporation and their use of licence fee payers’ cash.’
The Taxpayers’ Alliance believes the BBC licence fee is an unfair tax on people who are already taxpayers. Creative Access did not respond to requests for a comment.