Why hiring diverse young talent is so important in the media and creative industries

Posted 6 September 2021

In July, Media Trust welcomed and trained 35 young people aged 18-24 who were ready to embark on their journeys within the media and creative industry, through placements with a number of our corporate partners as part of the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.

Just two months into their six-month placements, our young people are already having a positive impact on the businesses they’ve joined. This has only brought home to us how much of a priority it is for media and creative businesses to provide access and opportunities for diverse young talent.

Why is it so important?

Diverse talent brings diverse thinking, which has been proven to boost innovation in business. Many business leaders also say it helps improve productivity, retention and wellbeing in their workplaces. We know how much harder it can be for talent from non-traditional backgrounds to get a foot through the door so it’s important we seize opportunities to address this wherever possible.

Hiring diverse young talent doesn’t just make business sense but you’re also supporting the young people whose further education and employment prospects have been massively impacted by the pandemic. According to LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, more than one in 10 people aged 16-25 have lost their jobs since the pandemic began.

How Media Trust is supporting diverse young talent

Working alongside five of our industry partners (Future Plc, Hearst, Immediate Media, ViacomCBS, and Warner Media), Media Trust helped to create media and creative industry placements for 35 young people as part of the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.

The £2bn scheme was introduced to tackle the growing number of young people at risk of long-term unemployment due to the pandemic and provides Government funding support for six-month placements for 16-24-year-olds. The young people don’t need any prior experience or qualifications for these placements but must be claiming Universal Credit and registered with a Job Centre.

We’ve helped our corporate partners to recruit and onboard 35 placements so far and the good news is they’ve been so impressed with the impact the young people are already having.

Giving individuals an opportunity to break into the media industry through the Government Kickstart Scheme has not only supported our commitment to provide opportunities to diverse talent but also allowed us to consider a talent pool of hugely enthusiastic individuals with incredible potential to be the leaders of the future.

Catherine Pereira, Talent Acquisition Director, ViacomCBS

We would recommend participating in the Kickstart Scheme to other employers as it’s a unique opportunity to firstly support young people into work and into roles they may otherwise not had the wherewithal to take on, and secondly it’s an exciting prospect for the business to learn from the talent who join through the scheme. For example, one of our Kickstarters has completed a Master’s degree in Digital Journalism so our teams have been able to learn from them while they've learnt more about Future as a business.

Lucy Keen, Talent Programme Manager, Future Plc

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my placement so far. I still can't believe what a great opportunity I've been given to work in an industry so full of creativity. I jumped straight into writing in my first week; at first it was daunting but in the end, so rewarding because my writing task was published on their website.

Safiya, a Kickstart Placement who’s working as an Editorial Assistant for Immediate Media’s Food Group

Want to get involved?

There’s still just enough time for you to use the scheme to offer young people meaningful paid work experience. Employers can still apply for funding support for new placements provided they start before the end of March 2022.

Remember, as part of the scheme, the Government will provide employers with funding for 100% of the national minimum wage for 25 hours per week (including NI contributions and auto-enrolment pensions) per placement. The scheme will also pay out £1,500 per placement to support onboarding and training costs.

You can find out more about the Kickstart Scheme here.

How Media Trust will support you

To support you to be part of Kickstart, Media Trust will:

  • Help you design suitable meaningful placements
  • Complete and submit your Kickstart application, working with our gateway partner DiVA Apprenticeships
  • Manage the relationship with the DWP and Job Centres
  • Manage the recruitment process including creating a shortlist of candidates for you to interview
  • Support you through the interview and onboarding process
  • Provide ongoing support throughout the six-month placement for both you and your Kickstarter(s)
  • Help your Kickstarter(s) with employability skills training as part of their placement, e.g., CV writing

In return for the above support, Media Trust will retain the £1,500 support grant per placement from the Government.


To ensure your Kickstart placement will be ready to start by the end of March 2022, please see below for an estimated timeline:

By Friday 10 DecemberSubmit Company Placement Application to DWP* (takes 4-6 weeks to be approved)
Mid/end-JanuaryCompany Placement Application approval received & Submit Job Vacancy Form to DWP (takes up to 4 weeks to be approved)
Mid/end-FebruaryJob vacancies go live at the Job Centres and recruitment begins
Mid/end-MarchInterviews held, successful candidates confirmed, and placements begin

Please note: these timings are indicative based on our experience and not guaranteed. The DWP has set a deadline of Friday 10 December for all Kickstart applications.

*only applicable to companies who have not yet been approved by the Government Kickstart Scheme.

More information 

If you’d like more information on supporting diverse young talent break into the industry through the Kickstart Scheme, contact Louise Dempsey at LouiseD@mediatrust.org.

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