Guy Ritchie Launches New Diversity Initiative Providing Paid Internships

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Guy Ritchie

Mathew Vaughn has also committed to Set Access, set up by British organization Creative Access and initially open to young Black candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Guy Ritchie has teamed with Creative Access, the Brit organization offering support for people from under-represented backgrounds to get into the creative industries, to launch a new diversity initiative providing paid film internships.

Called Set Access, the initiative — which will be initially open to young Black candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds — aims to eventually establish a talent pool of at least 250 interns from under-represented groups over a five-year period. Internships will be offered across U.K. film productions and funded by the participating companies.

In backing the Set Access, Ritchie has committed to hiring 10 paid interns on the production team of each of his future films and has been approaching other filmmakers to do the same and come aboard as mentors. The first to sign up is Matthew Vaughn, who has also committed to 10 paid internship on his next film. 

“Young black people from disadvantaged backgrounds are too often at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to career opportunities, especially those in creative industries often perceived as ‘closed'," said Ritchie, adding that the initial "modest" goal was to place 50 young Black trainees in productions. 

"With the help, support and guidance of others in the industry we hope that our pilot scheme will grow quickly and our aim is to dramatically increase those numbers and then, as soon as we can, open up the on-set training opportunities to young people from all disadvantaged and under-represented communities — irrespective of the color of their skin."

Added Vaughn: “Of course I had to say yes when Guy called. Real change is not only about enabling candidates to get a foot through the door but ensuring that they will thrive once they do so. We want to see candidates from a diversity of backgrounds flourish and gain senior roles, in turn offering their insight when bringing in new talent. It is from here we can enable enduring representation in the creative industries." 

Alongside the internship element, Set Access also aims to set up a development program for emerging talents, with the hope of ensuring that those who "don't fit the creatives industry's norm" get equal access to training, pay increases and promotions in order to reach senior levels within the industry. Both Ritchie and Vaughn will fund the first year's development program. 

"Creative Access is a community based on the shared values of equity and creativity. Our mission is to help under-represented communities, not just enter the creative industries but to thrive when they get in, because only then will the industry truly reflect and engage broader society," said Josie Dobrin, chief executive and co-founder of Creative Access.

"Our community has been disproportionately affected by events in recent months and we know that more than anything the one thing needed now is access, which is why we are so thrilled to be working with Guy on both elements of the project. We are grateful for Guy and Matthew’s generosity in financing the development programme and for providing so many tangible opportunities for talent from under-represented communities in the film industry."

BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) representation in the U.K. film industry has become major talking point in recent years, currently standing at just three percent of the sector according to the latest figures given by Creative Access.