Six Welsh producers have been selected to take part in the Channel Four, BBC Cymru Wales and S4C funded Factual Fast Track development programme.

The Fast Track package includes paid production and broadcast placements, bespoke training and commissioner and peer mentoring. The programme is responding to a need identified by both indies and broadcasters to invest in fast tracking the next generation of factual creative leaders in Wales. To support the development of a bilingual workforce, two of the six places are earmarked for Welsh speakers.

In spite of the impact Covid-19 has had on production, Fast Track’s funders and steering committee remain committed to supporting the development programme and doing everything possible to identify suitable placements for the successful producers.  The training package is moving online starting this month with courses in storytelling, commentary writing leadership and management, development and pitching, negotiating and influencing and tackling bullying and harassment.

The successful Fast Trackers are Gwenllian Hughes, Laura Martin Robinson, Carrie Smith, Eve White, Tammy Kennedy and Luke Pavey.

The selection panel included commissioners from each funding broadcaster (Channel 4, BBC Cymru Wales and S4C) and 22 producers were invited for interview.  Recruitment was completed three weeks before lockdown with early conversations about production placements taking place just a week before social distancing guidance were introduced.

Factual Fast Track Programme Director Hannah Corneck said: “In these challenging times, supporting our freelancers has never been more critical.  TV production across the UK has been hit hard by Covid-19 and it’s more important than ever to help producers navigate the choppy waters of a freelance career at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.”

Channel 4’s Head of Creative Diversity Babita Bahal said: “At the heart of Channel 4’s Nations and Regions plan is a commitment to nurturing and developing local production talent. We are delighted to be part of this scheme as it will not only supercharge the careers of those taking part but also provide essential training for the wider pool of talent from the area.”

To maximise the impact of Factual Fast Track, the development programme’s training offering has been extended to all candidates shortlisted for interview.  This decision comes at no extra cost and broadens the reach of the programme to benefit an additional 16 freelance producers in Wales.

Cardiff Productions is a new Cardiff based factual and digital production company led by former Sugar Films’ executives Narinder Minhas and Pat Younge. The company has recruited Fast Tracker Tammy Kennedy as their development exec.

Pat Younge, MD of Cardiff Productions said: “Factual Fast Track is a great way to support career development of the next generation of creative leaders in Wales. It’s been great to have someone with Tammy’s experience join us as a development exec, and for us to be able to support her growth whilst learning from her at the same time.”

Development Exec Fast Tracker Tammy Kennedy said: “Having designated mentors who are experts in the field to guide me, especially in these turbulent times feels like it will be invaluable in helping me move forward with my career in development.  In my placement I’m having the opportunity to meet and discuss my ideas with network commissioners who seemed unreachable before, as well as supporting my ideas and helping me shape them into more commissionable packages.  It feels a very exciting, rewarding and well thought out scheme to be a part of which is completely bespoke to my needs, and so far, exceeding my expectations.”

Jon Creamer