Skillset has launched a 200 thousand pound project in the South East of England to help support 36 people fast-track themselves into a radio career.
The Route into Radio project has been devised by Skillset — the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual and Publishing Industries — with funding from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).
The [link=http://www.skillset.org/radio/routeintoradio/]Route into Radio[/link] scheme is led by 18 radio stations across the South East including the BBC, larger commercial groups, and smaller independents in the community sector.
The scheme covers the entire region — West Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Milton Keynes, Bracknell, Forest, Medway, Reading, Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead, Wokingham, Brighton and Cove, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton.
Skillset South East Regional Manager Jo Cassey said the scheme was the first of its kind nationally.
She said: "This is the first major intervention within the sector, and one that is going to give the radio industry in the South East a significant lift in terms of bringing a more diverse mix of skilled new talent into the workforce."
Radio station managers in the South East welcomed the pilot scheme.
Mike Hapgood, BBC South Head of Programmes, said: "Route into Radio is a practical way of getting new experience in radio. I think it's the best thing to happen in the industry for ages."
Trevor Dann, Director of the Radio Academy, said: "We are delighted to be involved in a scheme which will equip a new generation in the South East with the skills and understanding to take on the demands of the rapidly changing radio industry."
Bob Hoad, Community Relations Director GCap Media and Route into Radio Project Co—ordinator, said: "There is a real need to develop the talent we have within our industry to make them the future stars of radio — at the moment recruitment is occurring by default rather than development."
Mark Briggs, CEO of United Radio Consultants, sponsors of RadioToday.co.uk, is a member of the Route into Radio steering group. He added his support, saying: "This is an amazing opportunity for people to benefit from a structured internship which provides a mix of training, support and hands-on experience – all culminating in a recognised qualification. I think that's a great thing."