Posted on June 24, 2024

White Men Have Least Chance of Getting on BBC Trainee Scheme

Jacob Freedland, BBC, June 8, 2024

Non-white applicants to the BBC’s flagship journalism training scheme were almost two and a half times more likely to get in than their white counterparts.

Since 2022, an average of 22.5 per cent of applicants were classed as coming from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME).

However over that same two-year period, BAME individuals made up 41 per cent of participants on the scheme.

In contrast, whites made up an average of 77.5 per cent of applicants but only 59 per cent of participants, since 2022.

This means that non-white applicants were 2.4 times more likely to be given a place on the highly coveted scheme than their white counterparts.

The two-year scheme, referred to as the Journalism Advanced Apprenticeship, provides participants with training and a potentially permanent role at the Corporation.

Females also had stronger chance

The findings were released via the Freedom of Information Act. Female applicants also had a stronger chance of getting in than men, but by a lesser degree.

Since 2022, an average of 60.25 per cent of applicants were women. But in that same period, women made up 71 per cent of participants.

In contrast, men made up an average of 39.75 per cent of applicants but 29 per cent of participants, meaning that womens’ chances of getting onto the scheme were 1.6 times higher than their male counterparts.

Neil O’Brien, who until the election was the Conservative MP for Harborough, said: “Unlike previous BBC schemes which have stated they are BAME-only, this scheme markets itself as open to anyone. But in practice there is discrimination.

“These practices will go into overdrive if Sir Keir Starmer becomes prime minister.

“People are not being treated fairly. We need to get back to hiring the best person for the job rather than basing it on the colour of your skin.”

‘Offer places based on merit’

In April, the Telegraph revealed that one in three participants on the scheme identified as white British.

A BBC spokesman said: “Similarly to The Telegraph’s Newsroom apprenticeship scheme, our apprenticeship courses enable people from a range of backgrounds to enter the media industry. We always offer places based on merit.

“We’re committed to our recruitment processes being fair to everyone, and attracting applicants that represent all parts of the UK, and like the Telegraph Media Group we’re committed to creating a diverse and inclusive culture at the BBC.

“The BBC runs many apprenticeship schemes, so it’s unclear what analysis can be determined from applications made to one course.”