Media company News UK (which includes print titles such as The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times, The TLS, and broadcast channels talkSPORT, Times Radio, TalkRadio, TalkTV and Virgin Radio) has been named best for Social Mobility Inclusion in Management Today’s DE&I Leaders Awards.
The accolade follows the delivery of a number of innovative initiatives to attract, develop and retain young talent from a much broader pool, which has seen the organisation open careers in the media to nearly 100 bright young people in the past 18 months.
Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News UK, said: “I have always wanted to ensure that News UK makes opportunities available to anyone who has the drive and ambition to succeed, from any walk of life.
“This award celebrates the work of so many people around News who have sought out trainees based on competencies rather than experience, offered them guidance and support, championing inclusivity and helping News UK to become more representative of all the audiences we serve. Our brilliant trainees have been welcomed into our newsrooms and beyond and are already helping us to tell stories in new ways and to attract our future audiences.
“There is much more to do – but we are proud that these efforts have been recognised.”
Working with Kickstart, News UK has offered 42 paid placements for unemployed young people, recruiting from Jobcentres in regions across the UK, delivering an intensive programme of training and on-the-job experience to each across six months.
More than 45 two-year apprenticeship places have been provided across The Times, The Sunday Times, the TLS, The Sun and Newsprinters – and spanning the UK and Ireland.
The blind recruitment process focused on competencies, rather than experience, to enable talented school leavers to compete fairly with graduates for roles.
In their comments, the Judges said: “…..they [News UK] are doing a lot and really investing in creating real opportunities in their own company. They’ve addressed the big problem in journalism head on and are making inroads.
“It’s so important to have representation in journalism to remove biases in reporting and to bring fresh perspective. I’ve really been encouraged by this initiative and the number of tangible (paid!!!) opportunities it provides the next generation of up and coming journalists.”
In addition, Sharin Hussain, currently an apprentice for The Sunday Times Style, has been shortlisted in the national Kickstart Awards. The Kickstart Awards, organised by the Department for Work and Pensions, recognise and celebrate young people who have been employed in a Kickstart job.
Sharin secured a two year apprenticeship role with The Sunday Times Style after her Kickstart placement. She also created the Muslim Network at News UK – and has contributed guidance for those managing staff who are fasting during Ramadan.
As an organisation, News UK has delivered more than 5,000 hours of work experience this year, with more than half the focus on students from outside of London. News UK now funds travel and accommodation to ensure students from across the country are able to take part.
News UK has also hosted a number of workshops to inspire people from all walks of life to consider a career in journalism. In November, The Sun, The Times and talkSPORT, along with ex-footballer Bob Hazell, Romaine Sawyers and Troy Deeney, held two journalism days with 30 youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds, offering masterclasses in how to interview, with a wide variety of workshops on sports journalism.
The initiatives are part of a wider D&I strategy, which set out ambitions to reach a 50/50 gender split across the workforce, and a 20% target of representation of ethnic minorities at News UK.
News UK’s D&I strategy was developed in 2020 by News UK’s Diversity Board, led by Dominic Carter, EVP, Publisher, The Sun and HR Director for The Sun, Broadcasting and CFO, Briony Hughes.