ITN ditches post-grads to attract more diverse staff

Broadcaster ITN is overhauling its graduate training programme to attract more black and working class students.

It intends to stop recruiting people with a post-graduate qualification in journalism. Instead it will take them straight from their first degree and build the post-graduate education into the company training scheme.

Director of resources Martyn Hurd said that nearly all its graduate intake now came with a post-graduate diploma under their belt.

This showed their commitment but limited ITN’s intake to people who could afford to continue their education.

“In reality, this means we cannot recruit enough people from ethnic minority backgrounds,” said Hurd.

So far ITN had not suffered. “We have been lucky enough to attract ethnic minority recruits but they tend to be middle class and we need to be much more diverse,” Hurd commented.

The company is also looking at how it recruits production and engineering staff.

It is considering sponsoring some students through their degrees or encouraging the best recruits to stay by helping them repay their student loans.

The overhaul is part of a massive reworking of personnel and development to cope with the growth of ITN’s digital and Internet businesses.

This has included introducing 24-hour work patterns, recruiting 168 new staff, retraining existing staff in new technology, devising some form of succession planning system and fine tuning the appraisal system.

Under the reworked appraisal scheme, training plans now have to be more closely linked to business needs.

Hurd said the aim was to discourage managers from offering their staff development training just to keep them happy.

“Now managers have to justify the training they are offering staff in terms of their budget and business plan,” he said. “At ITN we will give any amount of training provided it can be justified as useful for our business.”

By Lucie Carrington

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