New research calls for change in film, TV and games sectors to improve access and progression for disadvantaged young people

16 November 2023

While the film, TV and games industries are one of the UK’s greatest success stories, new research calls for change from the sector to provide disadvantaged young people with better access to jobs and career progression.

The research, undertaken by Work Advance and funded by Creative PEC and Mission 44, shows that young people, people of colour and those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds are significantly underrepresented in many parts of the screen and games industries.

The researchers identified a very large number - almost 200 - of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) schemes across the creative industries, including 118 alone focused on the screen sector, yet they also found many limitations across the current landscape of support. These include gaps in provision (particularly for care experienced young people or those excluded from school), as well as interventions limited by short-term funding, a one-size-fits-all-approach, being too London-centric, or lacking evaluation evidence.

The report presents nine recommendations for the screen and games industries and policymakers, including:

  • Invest in new targeted EDI programmes to address gaps in existing provision such as preparing young people for freelance work.
  • Develop intersectional support. For example, blending pre-employment initiatives (volunteering, employability skills, work experience) with job-related training (traineeships / apprenticeships); employment support (subsidised placements or jobs, funding for childcare and transport) and mentoring.
  • Convene an inter-employer network of businesses from across the screen and games industries to create shared standard setting and build more inclusive workplaces.

Despite all of the EDI schemes underway, the research highlights a concern that any new scheme, regardless of its good intentions, adds to a crowded set of interventions. The researchers call on the screen and games industries to think differently about the way in which they offer support for young people.

Heather Carey, Director of Work Advance and Creative PEC Research Consortium Partner, Education, Skills and Talent says:

“It is clear there is much important work underway to address persistent and pronounced inequality across the creative sector. The research we publish today points to how the Screen Industries can strengthen their approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). This includes sharper focus on the retention and progression of diverse talent; making the landscape of support easier to navigate; offering more intersectional, holistic and sustained support; and for greater collaborative working between Screen businesses on this important agenda. There is also a pressing need to better evaluate the impact of EDI initiatives, to improve our collective understanding of ‘what works’ in supporting disadvantaged young people to access and thrive in the Film, TV and Games Industries.”

Stephanie Neave, Head of Research and Strategy at Mission 44, says:

"To build a fairer, more inclusive future, we need to ensure all young people have access to opportunities and pathways into good employment. These findings show that there is no lack of will to advance equality, diversity and inclusion within the creative sector - but there is a clear need to ensure this translates into effective practice. In co-funding this vital research, our hope is that it galvanises coordinated action to better support the recruitment, retention, and progression of young people from underserved communities into the creative industries going forward.”


Press contacts

Anna Zabow: / 07713 619077

Alice Kent

The report ‘Improving young people’s access and progression in work in Film, TV and Games’ is available to download.

About Work Advance

Work Advance provides independent research, evaluation and advisory services, working collaboratively to secure practical improvements and bring lasting positive change to the world of work: supporting a more competitive and inclusive future for the UK.

About the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (Creative PEC)

We exist to provide independent policy and evidence to support the inclusive and sustainable growth of the UK’s creative industries. The Creative PEC is led by Newcastle University with the Royal Society of Arts and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). For more information visit @CreativePEC

About Mission 44

Mission 44 was founded by Sir Lewis Hamilton to build a fairer, more inclusive future in which every young person can thrive. The foundation supports bold organisations, leaders and ideas to reimagine the future and transform the lives of young people from underserved communities through grant-making, research and advocacy. Mission 44 is focused on building a more inclusive education system, opening doors to careers within STEM, motorsport, and the creative industries, and empowering young people to become an influential force for change. For more information, please visit