The U.K.’s National Film & Television School (NFTS) and the British Film Institute (BFI) have partnered on an education initiative designed to increase diverse access to quality industry education.

The Early Stage Access and Diversity Accelerator Program aims to address the skills gap by widening access to learning opportunities and embedding diversity and inclusion within it.

The planned activity will support demand from the U.K.’s film, television and games sectors for highly trained talent from across the country to reflect contemporary society, encouraging equal opportunities and improving under-representation in the screen industries.

The drive comes one week after a report by the Creative Diversity Network revealed that off-screen contributions from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in the U.K. TV industry have fallen from 12.3% last year to 11.8% in 2019-20, below the national workforce estimate of 13%.

The activities will begin rolling out from April. They include the public facing masterclass strand titled Backstories, which will kick off with “It’s A Sin” creator Russell T. Davies in conversation with NFTS alumni.

In addition, the NFTS will further expand its existing national outreach program, designed to find a new generation of film, television and games talent, to broader locations and by working with more groups. Further, access to NFTS entry level short courses will expand U.K.-wide and access to online training and development will be enhanced.

Training support will be provided for film executives and entrepreneurial producers, while bursaries and scholarships will support more applicants from under-represented groups to access places on NFTS MA and diploma courses.

Jon Wardle, NFTS director, said: “We are thrilled to strengthen our relationship with the BFI by partnering on this exciting programme of activity. It sets out to achieve our collective ambitions: to drive real and positive change within the industry. Diversity and inclusion is at the core of our plans and we will go further and faster than ever before to tear down the barriers to entry, ensuring future talent feel the U.K. screen industry is a place that welcomes and represents all, regardless of background or circumstance.”

Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive, added: “We want as many people as possible to benefit from world-class learning about our industry; from young enthusiasts to students, emerging practitioners and beyond.”