Media Parents

Monthly Archives: November 2010

Media Parents flexible working meeting : Bristol – who came?*

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Bristol meeting : people who attended* http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/ is a jobs and social networking site for great talent and flexible jobs in media.

  1. Amy Walker : Site Director, Media Parents
  2. Chris Hutchins : Head of Talent, NHU & Factual, BBC Bristol
  3. Amy Organ : Talent Management Assistant, BBC Bristol
  4. Harriet Wallace : Development Producer, Media Parents
  5. Kate Edwards : Producer, Media Parents
  6. Jane Lomas : Executive Producer, RDF Television West
  7. Angela Oakhill : Head of Production, Diverse Bristol
  8. David Postlethwaite : Head of Production, Touch Productions
  9. Sas Bonser : Project Manager, South West Screen
  10. Annie Warburton : South West Manager, Skillset
  11. Annette Sloly : PM / Project Manager, Freelance
  12. Chiara Bellati : PD, Media Parents
  13. Laura Abrahams : AP, Media Parents
  14. Lucy Swingler : PD, Media Parents
  15. Marina Traversari : Producer / Director, Media Parents
  16. Jen Saguaro : Production Designer, Media Parents
  17. Bernard Walton : Executive Producer, Aqua Vita Films
  18. Helen Cooper : Head of Production, 3Days
  19. Lisa Walters : Production Coordinator / PM, NHU
  20. Charlotte Cross : Head of Development, NHU Children’s Dept
  21. Wendy Bowden : Producer, Media Parents
  22. Adam White : Producer, NHU
  23. Lisa Lipman : PD, Available Light Productions
  24. Jane Greenford : Production Management Ass. / Coordinator – BBC
  25. Imogen Haigh : Production Assistant, Aardman
  26. Tamsin Summers  : Executive Producer, Talo Development
  27. Emma Peddie : PD, Freelance
  28. Rachael Power : Production Manager, Media Parents
  29. Stephen Leigh  : Series Producer, Keo Films
  30. Lorraine Molloy : PD, Media Parents
  31. Kate Blackmore : Production Co-ordinator, Freelance
  32. Jo Shinner : Series Producer, Freelance
  33. Gaynor Scattergood : Talent Manager, NHU
  34. Jane Atkins : AP, NHU
  35. Mitch Turnbull : Producer, Bramble Media
  36. Tom Stubbs : Director / Producer, Biggerhouse Films
  37. Leyla Pope : Screenwriter, Freelance
  38. Polly Rose : Film Editor, Freelance
  39. Nell Denton : Script Editor / Writer, Freelance
  40. Elaine Tucker : Media Manager, BBC Information & Archives
  41. Marcus Rowland : Employment Lawyer, Wiggin LLP
  42. Caroline Blackadder : Series Editor, RDF Television West
  43. Rebecca Gatward : Drama Director, Freelance
  44. Amy Twomey : Production Manager, Freelance
  45. Alix Wiseman : Head of Sales, Aardman
  46. Nicole Kruysse : Production Co-ordinator, BBC Bristol
  47. Javotte Flatman : PD, Media Parents
  48. Emanuelle Maclean : AP / Producer, Media Parents
  49. Paul Deane : Senior Web Producer, BBC
  50. Kirstie Deane : PM, Aardman Features / Freelance
  51. Gaynor Davies : Series Producer, Freelance
  52. Jennifer Hegarty : 1st AD, Freelance
  53. Debbie White : PM, RDF Television West
  54. Vivia Tognieri : Production Assistant, BBC
  55. Clare Brook : PD, BBC
  56. Mark Fielder : MD, Quickfire Media sent apologies but wanted people to know that Quickfire Media welcomes working flexibly with freelancers.

THANKS TO BBC BRISTOL FOR HOSTING, AND TO AMY ORGAN FOR TAKING THE PHOTOS.

COMING SOON… WHAT WAS SAID…

* or at least said they were coming – we didn’t call a register!

November 29, 2010 @ 7:01 pm Posted in Events, News Comments Off

free money – for training for film & TV

by Amy Walker

Amy Walker, Director of Media Parents somehow managed to steal two Oscars at the Skillset Funding Meeting

This Monday I went to WFTV / Skillset’s ‘Show Me the Money!’ meeting about Film and TV bursaries.  TV Co-ordinators Raechel Leigh Carter and Kate Smith,  Film Fund Co-ordinator Stephanie Akinyelure, and Harriet Fleuriot, Skillset’s Film & Online Marketing Manager gave an interesting presentation on how – and how not – to get your hands on the cash.

The great news is that there’s money still in the pots that needs to be used for training bursaries before the end of this financial year, so read below, get on the Skillset website and get cracking.  Even if you haven’t worked for a while, or are a parent who’s been out of the loop bringing up a child – you can still get the cash, I specifically asked.  In fact Skillset really want you to have the money, and have pledged that 50% of their bursaries will go to women this year – as just over 40% of the workforce in TV and film is female, the odds are definitely stacked for the ladies.  But of course there are bursaries for Media Dads too!

Skillset gives bursaries to freelancers for courses specific to their own skills that will help them to further their careers.  Nice. They make awards of up to a grand. Even nicer! The bursaries don’t just cover tuition fees but also associated costs, like transport to a place. Skillset also make grants to employees, not just freelancers.  Very nice too.

The specific areas that have rich cash reserves at the moment are bursaries for Management & Leadership in TV, and Multiplatform.  They also let it slip that fewer Management and Leadership applications are made.

Tips on how to apply for Skillset Funding:

The main one seemed to be RTFM, which made me smile.  All the notes on how to get the funding are on the Skillset site, it seems that few people are actually willing to read them.

Update your CV (for tips on CVs, see elsewhere on this blog).  They want to see it in chronological order, credits by production date not TX date, and they want be able to read your relevant TV / Film production experience clearly.  BUT if you’ve had a break from work because you’ve been unemployed or heavily employed with childcare – that’s fine.  All you need to do is state that on your CV.

Unable to sit quietly in a PowerPoint presentation for long, I asked:

“How long is an acceptable career break?” “A 3 year gap needs explanation,” answered Rachael L C, “We’re looking for your potential to succeed in the TV industry, and reassurance that the money will be well spent.  We want to see that people are still committed to a career in the industry, but we also know it can be really tough, so you just need to demonstrate what you’re doing to get TV work”.

Pick your course carefully – make sure it’s something you can justify and are ready for.  Having been quiet for at least 15 minutes and knowing that there were Management & Leadership Bursaries up for grabs, I asked “What level must a freelancer be at before they are ready for management training?” They said, “We wanted the Q&A to be at the end of the session” but graciously answered anyway: “Anyone from PD level upwards is absolutely welcome to apply for a Management & Leadership Bursary.  Production Managers are also eligible – people just need to outline management experience to date.”

When you fill in the box about why you want the training don’t put a one-word answer.  This goes straight to bin.  (Probably.) You need to explain how training will help you further your TV or film career. If you’re applying after a career break you need to write and say how training will help you back into TV or film.  It’s that easy.  If you’re stuck for inspiration use the watercooler at www.mediaparents.co.uk – you will get an answer.

Stephanie A said “We’re giving out film and TV money for coaching, mentoring, leadership and business skills – anything that will develop your talents so that it can be ploughed back into the industry.” She also said that whereas TV courses have to be assessed by Skillset for funding, film bursaries work differently.  If you want a bursary for a film course, you find the course, write to Skillset and tell them about it, they assess it and may award you the funding – so you choose the course, not Skillset.  At least I am pretty sure that’s true, I swear I held off on the free wine and buffet till afterwards.  It doesn’t even have to be at a Film School, it can be at a business school for example.  You can contact Skillset through their website below to find out if a particular course is applicable.

It takes up to 4 weeks to approve funding, no matter what the course, so please apply in good time.

The final word from Skillset on applications: Large envelopes require different postage.  Word.

Please mention Media Parents when you apply. www.mediaparents.co.uk/ – gorgeous.  www.skillset.org/

If you are a woman and want to retrain out of media into a job in science, engineering, technology or the built environment, the UKRC is a government-backed organisation is offering grants for training in those fields if booked by December.  Please see http://www.theukrc.org/women/grants-and-bursaries/ukrc-training-grants

November 13, 2010 @ 4:56 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

media parents flexible working meeting : Bristol

by Amy Walker

www.mediaparents.co.uk - the jobs and social networking site for short term, part time, job share and regular hours jobs in media

The next Media Parents flexible working meeting will be held at BBC Bristol at 6pm on Tuesday 23rd November. It’s an open meeting where freelancers and employers are invited to share their experiences of flexible working. Please RSVP to admin@mediaparents.co.uk with your full name and job title, entitling your email Bristol.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/ is a jobs and social networking website for parents and others who want to work flexibly in TV.  5000 women and 750 men left TV over the last 3 years – Media Parents is hoping to stem this talent drain and keep talented people working in media.

Media Parents is currently organising a meeting : Can TV Work More Flexibly in the South West? which will take place on Tuesday November 23rd at 6:00pm at BBC Bristol. The simple aim of this meeting is to share information on best practice of flexible working as a partial and positive solution to some of the problems we are facing in TV, as outlined by Skillset’s recent data.  We hope that the meeting will result in more media employers and freelancers being open to the idea of job sharing and  flexible working, and seeing a way to make this happen.

Freelancers and employers representing the following companies and more will be attending the meeting in Bristol on the 23rd: 3 Days, Aardman, Aqua Vita Films, Available Light Television, BBC, Bristol Anchor Partnership, Quickfire Media, RDF Television West, Skillset, South West Screen, Touch Productions and Media Parents.  To join us please email admin@mediaparents.co.uk We are currently in process of trying to set up a creche for the event so let us know if you would be bringing your children.

To read about the first Media Parents Flexible Working meeting please see http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2010/11/

November 8, 2010 @ 2:04 pm Posted in Events, News Comments Off

media parents Ruby Wax promo

by Amy Walker

please click below to watch and share this short clip of Ruby Wax demonstrating the joys of working from home:

Ruby Wax promo for Media Parents

www.mediaparents.co.uk - the jobs and social networking site for short term, part time, job share and regular hours jobs in media

@ 1:59 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

media parents 1st flexible working meeting notes 8

by Amy Walker

Amy Walker created www.mediaparents.co.uk to help freelancers to work more flexibly and to enable employers to benefit from a highly experienced flexible talent pool

www.mediaparents.co.uk held a flexible working meeting attended by some of the employers and freelancers in media who support flexible working – a list of them can be found on this blog. Herefollows the final part of a series of articles summarising comment from that evening.  Media Parents will be announcing another flexible working meeting very soon.

Amanda Rice BBC Head of Diversity

“It’s not just about educating and showing benefits. Be clear about what the package is that’s on offer.  If we are going to solve this we need to take a three pronged approach:

1) COMMISSIONERS need to change the culture of commissioning  – ie. giving green light at last minute, so companies cannot plan ahead easily, which inhibits a more creative approach to employment  (late commissioning is currently working against more diverse talent and flexible opportunities).

2) JOBSEEKERS actively asking about opportunities and packaging themselves up in a way that will appeal to indies (as described by some of the job shares at the meeting).

3) INDIES being more open to the benefits of flexible working and taking ‘the risk’ to gain eg. 2 brains  for the price of 1, or more diverse talent.

Amanda Rice, BBC Head of Diversity speaks out

Jessica Sharkey, joint Director of Production at Hat Trick

Writing teams work well together, could there be other jobs that share perhaps?

Audience REAX to this – Writers aren’t the same kind of jobs, it isn’t a job share, but a partnership.

Amy Walker Director, Media Parents

Amy worked for a tiny Indie in a creative role, where she effectively job shared with the Exec Producer. The company allowed her to work flexibly because they benefitted from her skills and it cost them less – “if you work with a like-minded creative who has similar experience then there’s no reason you shouldn’t share a project as long as you can both communicate, and you are working to a brief that you both understand in the same way.”

Laura Clark Director, Indie Training Fund

Laura Clark (centre left) and Liz Mills (centre right)

The Indy Training Fund funds causes and helps people with on the job training. Could the ITF do more recruitment awareness?  Should the Indie Training Fund be looking at training techniques for managers and recruiters so they bring more flexible working into the workplace?

Emily Booth Deputy Editor, Broadcast

Roundtable discussion said there should be raised awareness and think laterally

Mentoring, and the process of mentoring that helps both parties.  Could it be cross-industry too? Could senior women in other industries help TV? Women in Film & TV is currently piloting a mentoring scheme for members.

Liz Mills MD, Red Spider Productions

Liz believed a lot of companies have a long way to go, as an Executive Producer, she thinks it may be hard to consider taking two SPs. Proving yourself as a team if you want to job share is important. But she couldn’t see that job sharing as a Director would work either.

Should there be an ‘idiot guide’ for companies on things to consider for flexible working?

Jane Manning Head of Production, October Films

Jane Manning, Head of Production from October Films is a single parent who works flexibly

The problem with taking on flexible workers is that quite often Broadcasters keep the Indies waiting until the 11th hour for the commission. Possible freelancers can’t wait, and have to take other work.

Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams Diversity Advisor, PACT

This goes back to the three sides working together – Broadcaster, Production Company and Freelancer.

Justine Field job sharing PM  “It should be a change from the bottom up, if people ask for flexible working, they may change employers’ attitudes.”

Jude Winstanley Director, The Unit List

“There are so many in agreement here tonight, the more people approach Indies, the less they will be frightened by flexible working. More Indies are meeting more people too so get in there and ask for what you want”.

Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams Diversity Advisor, PACT

Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams had everyone smiling by the end of the meeting

The Cultural Diversity Network is all about increasing diversity in TV– job sharing comes amongst that.  Feel free to contact Joyce with CVs and she will pass to companies who are interested in employing people on a flexible basis.  “Men are generally much better at asking for what they want – women with children don’t under-estimate yourselves! If you’re talented I can’t wait to see your CV.  I would love it if people approached companies as job share packages”.

To contact Joyce please send an email to be forwarded to admin@mediaparents.co.uk  Since this meeting the Cultural Diversity Network has added “working with www.mediaparents.co.uk” to its list of ways that indies can endorse the CDN’s diversity pledge.  Channel 4 has stipulated that it will only commission from companies endorsing the CDN pledge.  Please log on to www.mediaparents.co.uk to start working flexibly now!

With thanks to Envy Post Production for hosting this event, to Lorraine Molloy for taking the photographs, and to all those who attended and contributed to this event.

November 5, 2010 @ 2:09 am Posted in Events, News Leave a comment

media parents 1st flexible working meeting notes 7

by Amy Walker

www.mediaparents.co.uk held a flexible working meeting attended by some of the employers and freelancers in media who support flexible working – a list of them can be found on this blog. Herefollows part 7 of a series of articles summarising comment from that evening.  Media Parents will be announcing another flexible working meeting very soon.

Helen Matthews, Director of HR at Tiger Aspect (centre) and Naomi Carter, Director of Production at Mentorn (left)

Helen Mathews HR Director, Tiger Aspect

Helen works part-time, 5 “short” days, “it’s all about partnership with people.”

Helen agreed “it is a good idea to come as a package, or come with a solution. It’s much easier for an HR person to sell to their bosses.” Helen asked the floor – if you take on a job sharer, a problem can come when a one wants to leave. Where does the responsibility lie then?

Audience reaction to this: Some said employer, some said employee.

Chi Ukairo speaks about her experiences of working flexibly as a PD

Chi Ukairo Freelance PD and flexible worker

Chi said she has worked p/t 4 days a week as a P/D, then as a Director for 3 days a week.  She would make sure her team knew where she was, and be available on the days she wasn’t in the office. “We’ve all got technology now, staff can always get in touch.”

Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams Diversity Advisor, PACT

“The fact is, it is not a prevalent practise in television. Tonight has mostly been discussion about staff jobs, which are easier to make flexible. For freelancers it is hard, and also it’s tough for small Indies.”

Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams (centre) Diversity Advisor, PACT with Jo Dolman, Head of HR talkbackTHAMES (right)

Of the 200 companies Joyce has approached, only 5/6 offers flexible working, and 10 more would be interested in looking into flexible working.  For big Indies, it is a lot easier, and some people who do work flexibly end up squashing 5 days into 4.  But, it’s more than a two way street, it’s a three way street. It’s employer, employee and the Broadcaster. The Broadcaster puts pressure and requirements on the production company that can make it difficult to look flexibly at ways of employing.

Karl Burnett Director of HR, BBC Vision

Karl Burnett, Director of HR, BBC Vision

The vast majority of flexible working doesn’t cost any more, and everyone works within their constraints. For the individual and the employer, the demands on the broadcasters can be unreal.

Tessa, BBC Vision We need to start a track record of which companies are doing it.  If you do work flexibly, don’t feel guilty. If you can’t make a meeting, you’re not letting everyone down!

www.mediaparents.co.uk asks employers to indicate how they work flexibly, or what roles they might consider to work flexibly.  Helen Veale, Joint MD at Outline Productions speaks elsewhere on this blog about Outline’s flexible working strategy.

Naomi Carter Director of Production, Mentorn

“Flexible jobs can work! You can have part-time Production Managers and part-time PDs.  Media Parents is a great idea and will really help this to get off the ground.” Naomi had just given a job to a woman who is working part-time on a long-running obs doc series.

Amanda Rice, BBC Head of Diversity speaks out

Joyce –PACT

The will of the companies is there, but it is difficult to make it happen.

Rachel – The Bill

TV has been left behind, in other Arts jobs, it is common to share a role.

Read on for BBC Head of Diversity Amanda Rice’s response…

@ 1:46 am Posted in Events, News Comments Off

media parents 1st flexible working meeting notes 6

by Amy Walker

www.mediaparents.co.uk held a flexible working meeting in May attended by some of the employers and freelancers in media who support flexible working – a list of them can be found on this blog. Herefollows part 5 of a series of articles summarising comment from that evening.  Media Parents will be announcing another flexible working meeting very soon.

Rachel Peters: “I believe it really is about getting the relationship right, and working in similar ways.”

Justine Randle and Rachel Peters were job sharing Production Managers on The Bill at talkbackTHAMES

Rachel: “I believe it really is about getting the relationship right, and working in similar ways.”

They went to their bosses proposing 3 days a week each, but were offered 2 and a half. They do have a handover, and sometimes long phone calls too. They agreed with Laura and Jessica the joint Directors of Production at Hat Trick that they didn’t want anyone to have to repeat themselves, and have had generally had good feedback. Some people on the team were sceptical at first, and took a while to realise the job share worked.

Jo Dolman, Tim key, Rachel Peters and Justine Randle from talkbackTHAMES

Tim Key, Series Producer on The Bill at talkbackTHAMES

When pitched the job share by Justine and Rachel, he was happy about it, as he had worked with both, and happy to give it a go. It has worked really well.

Q: Does job sharing work, because PM’ing is a job for an organiser, could it work for more creative roles, like SP?

General discussion about PM’s abilities, and that it wouldn’t perhaps work for SPs.  The Gadget Show divides the Series Producer roles into two and has one “creative” series producer, and one “logistics” series producer working in tandem.

Justine - Now I am applying for jobs, should I mention the job share?

Helen – Outline Productions. Yes, you should be applying as a package together. If it has worked well for 18 months, that is proof to a future employer.

Audience member: How important is it that people know you? Will that help people accept you as a jobshare?

Karl – If it comes to you as a package, it’s worth having.

Suzie Marsh – freelancer and flexible worker

Suzie told of an example of going to a new employer, where she hadn’t known anyone, but had been allowed to work flexibly, as she had asked directly at interview.

Suzie Marsh, flexible working Series Producer

“Ask if it has to be a 5 day a week job,  and ask when the deadline for the project is and request to work flexibly until completion.” The employer allowed her to do it, and it worked well. “If you ask, you might get. You need to explain to the employer clearly how you could make it work.”

www.mediaparents.co.uk asks employers to list the ways in which they would consider or already use flexible working practices.  You can assume that any employer on our site is amenable to flexible working so calculate how you can make it work for you and make an approach – no harm in asking or using your initiative.  When you have worked with an employer on the Media Parents site the employer can leave feedback for you that other employers but not other freelancers can see.  You can always remove it, but employers say this is useful to them.

Tessa Matchett – Ex job-sharer and Head of Strategic Communications – BBC Vision

Tessa Matchett: “I think there’s a burden of proof – you need to start a track record as a job sharer."

“I think there’s a burden of proof – you need to start a track record as a job sharer. The first day I said ‘I will join you by phone at the meeting’ I got on the phone and I was shaking, but the more you do it…  You feel like you’re training people to work differently with you.”

Every team in the Communications department at BBC Vision recruits a job share position. And if you come as a package, it’s a great thing for an employer. If you come alone and ask for a job share, it’s more difficult for the employer. Handover notes are very important and sharing time in the office with your other half is important too.

Tessa made the point that she didn’t know her job share partner before they started working together so they had to learn to work together. This is common in job shares in the wider workplace, so if you haven’t worked with a job share partner before it’s not impossible.

Read on for comment from Helen Mathews – HR Director, Tiger Aspect.


@ 1:18 am Posted in Events, News Leave a comment

media parents 1st flexible working meeting notes 5

by Amy Walker

www.mediaparents.co.uk held a flexible working meeting in May attended by some of the employers and freelancers in media who support flexible working – a list of them can be found on this blog. Herefollows part 5 of a series of articles summarising comment from that evening.  Media Parents will be announcing another flexible working meeting very soon.

Amy Walker created www.mediaparents.co.uk to help freelancers to work more flexibly and to enable employers to benefit from a highly experienced flexible talent pool

Laura Djanogly / Jessica Sharkey job sharing Directors of Production, Hat Trick Productions.

Jessica Sharkey (centre) and Laura Djanogly (to her left) job sharing Directors of Production at Hat Trick shared some insider tips

Laura – Joined HT as Head of Production in 2001 and began the job share in 2004.  Jessica had previously worked at Hat Trick as a freelance Line Producer.   In 2003 a heavily pregnant Jessica did some budgeting work for a newly pregnant Laura.  They got on well and realised that with their shared values and working practices they could make a job share work.  They went to Hat Trick management together and suggested job share which was accepted. The company realised that having two people with varied backgrounds and experience meant that they could cover all the genres the company produce in one role.

They follow the philosophy of  It’s not my job, it’s our job”. They have only one email inbox, as they both believe they have to be “one person” to lessen impact on others.  They didn’t want anyone to have to repeat themselves, and things have to continue to move forwards. Handover notes are crucial and can be onerous, but serve as a good log and checklist.

Laura: “Handover notes can be a review and analysis, which is necessary and good. You’ve always got a safety net then too. The company knew us both individually and that helped. Sharing the workload does increase productivity as we often feel guilty if we leave a problem unresolved, and neither of us feel we can have a ‘coasting’ day as it impacts unfairly on each other.”

They have a hand over day on Wednesday when they are both in the office, and as Laura said, “it is nice to hand over to my work wife”.  Jessica comes in fresh on Wednesday ready for the challenge.

“To have two minds on one problem is a good thing, and writing handover notes means a revisit and sometimes a resolve of problems too.” To have two sets of skills and two sets of experience tackling one job is of benefit to the company. It costs HT half a day’s extra salary, and has been going 6 years as a job share.

While there is no other job share at Hat Trick, there are flexible working hours held by people in various positions, including  senior employees working 3 and 4 day weeks.  Some PM jobs don’t need to be 5 days a week, some can be part-time.  Since this meeting took place Justine Randle (see below) has been working 2 days a week at Hat Trick.

Jessica:We’re sharing the workload and therefore also the stress” (as they cover all productions at HT, a considerable amount). “There’s also instant holiday cover!”

Justine Randle / Rachel Peters were job sharing Production Managers on The Bill at talkbackTHAMES.

Rachel Peters: “I believe it really is about getting the relationship right, and working in similar ways.”

Read on for more comment on flexible working.  Please feel free to add comment or email admin@mediaparents.co.uk to contribute to the blog on flexible working or best practice in media.  Thanks to Lorraine Molloy for taking the photographs and to Envy Post Production for hosting this event.

@ 12:59 am Posted in Events, News Leave a comment

media parents 1st flexible working meeting notes 4

by Amy Walker

www.mediaparents.co.uk held a flexible working meeting in May attended by some of the employers and freelancers in media who support flexible working – a list of them can be found on this blog.  Herefollows part of a series of articles summarising comment from that evening.  Media Parents will be announcing another flexible working meeting very soon.

Helen Veale, Joint MD of Outline Productions speaks out for flexible working

Reacting to Karl Burnett, HR Director, BBC Vision, Helen Veale, MD Outline Productions said that she believed that “the lack of flexible working isn’t cultural it is economic. At Outline we have only got around 12 permanent employees – everyone else is freelance hired for a specific role on a specific production. We can only hire people according to the budget and schedule approved by the broadcaster on each production.”

“But that doesn’t have to mean that there are no opportunities for media parents. The imperative is to get the best staff for each role on each production and often that can mean working mums. A recent attempt to recruit senior staff on a series involved looking at over 100 CVs conducting loads of interviews and after weeks of looking finding the right people, both of whom were working mums just returning to work. It is a real struggle to find the right people for jobs – and if those people are women with kids employers still want to hire them. Women with kids should not underestimate how highly valued their skills are.”

“Be proactive about it. Come with a strategy that works for us both – tell me how you will be able to deliver what the production needs in the way that works for your family responsibilities.”

“If you are looking to work flexibly, come in with a plan about how you are going to be able to do that. If you want to work a job share, find your partner and come in as a pair. As an employer it puts more of a burden on me if I have to recruit two halves of a job separately, but if you arrive as a job share and are the right fit for the job it would be easy to say yes, especially when it is so hard to find people with the right skills and experience.”

On the media parents website www.mediaparents.co.uk we ask employers to state in their profiles what kind of flexible working their company supports.  It can be assumed that any company listing on the site will be amenable to your approach.  There is a watercooler where you can find a partner to jobshare with, and you can mark on your profile who you would partner with.

More thoughts on flexible working from Helen Veale, Joint MD Outline

Helen Veale, Joint MD of Outline Productions - approach companies with a practical strategy for flexible working, the economic arguments are clear

“Most of the women at a senior level at Outline have got kids and the really make it work – some have worked part time, some have worked fewer days during school holidays or adjust their working hours the school run. As long as the work gets done within the schedule of the production, or to the deadline it doesn’t matter when the work gets done or if it’s at the office or at home.”

Flexibility works for everyone in the current financial climate

“Flexible working on productions is probably easier on long running formats as Emily Booth said, but not all productions are like that. Lots of Indies are doing shorter run series, or one-offs which might make it harder to accommodate flexible working. However the key has always got to be, come to the production company with a clear positive explanation of what you are asking for and how you are going to make that work for the production.”

Helen also thought it was a shame that there were only two men at the meeting. “On the whole it takes men and women to make children, and men need to take their share of the responsibility. Get your partner to help you so that together you can cover the childcare and juggle what you need to work flexibly.”

Next: Laura Djanogly and Jessica Sharkey
Job share – Director of Production, Hat Trick Productions.

‘It’s not my job, it’s our job’. TO BE CONTINUED…


@ 12:26 am Posted in Events, News Comments Off

media parents 1st flexible working meeting notes 3

by Amy Walker

Here is a one in a series of summaries of comment from the first Media Parents flexible working meeting.

Karl Burnett – HR Director – BBC Vision “It’s not about attendance, it’s about output – the vast majority of flexible working won’t have any extra cost and will actually save money”.

Karl Burnett, Director of HR, BBC Vision quotes from an Ariel article on flexible working

Karl agreed that the Broadcasters should lead the way with flexible working and he was alarmed by the figures that Emily had stated. Since 2005 the numbers of people at the BBC working part-time has increased from 11.1% to 12.7%. In News some 32% work part-time, but Karl said there is nothing innovative about this, but instead it’s solid policy and a good attitude to different style of working. The BBC has extended the law so that it is not just parents who can request flexible working, but anyone who wants to do it.

The types of flexible working at BBC are; term-time only, from home, unpaid leave and job sharing.  Karl also showed a copy of the week’s Ariel magazine which contained the article, ‘Does flexible working work for you?’ (we are asking Ariel for permission to reprint this).

He did say there was a long way to go still, and although some 32% of Senior Management work flexibly, it’s not the same at more junior levels.

He also noted we should recognise that big employers need to enable flexible working, and the BBC can be a model for this kind of behaviour. Karl did acknowledge that for small companies and small teams flexible working can have a big impact.

Karl used to work at Nickelodeon with far fewer employees than the BBC, and they had returners coaching for new mums coming back to work. Even as a smaller company they recognised the need for this.

At the BBC 87% of new mums return to work and 90% return to work in the News department. Employers should think of flexible working as a culture, not just policy, and managers need to see the positive side to this, and not as onerous. Actually, part-time work can be more effective than full-time, as more hours can be worked by a part-timer.

media parents at the meeting

Managers should not be afraid part time work can help drive the productivity.

Gaps in the workforce are not a bad thing – changing jobs and having placements elsewhere can all be positive.

When working at Channel 4, Karl said there were efforts to help flexible working. Workshops were held with key managers being asked what their fears were about including flexible working employees. The workshops would then seek to show the benefits to these employers too. He felt that the important issue was that it was a two-way street between employer and employee. A job share can be a nightmare, but mostly they work really well. His advice is to try a job share, and then be happy to tweak it if necessary. Individuals who do job share should be mindful of impact on the rest of the team.

Next: Helen Veale – Joint MD and Creative Director, Outline Productions. Reacting to Karl, Helen said she believed that “the lack of flexible working isn’t cultural, it’s economic.”

November 4, 2010 @ 7:55 pm Posted in Events, News Comments Off