February 3, 2020
Clare Mills, communications and marketing executive for ITV Signed Stories, is supporting Ruaridh Lever-Hogg and Raza Hussain as they begin the Gateshead-based SignPost training scheme with the broadcaster. Here, the trio discuss the programme and how it will strengthen the region’s talent pool by providing opportunities for deaf and disabled filmmakers
We established the SignPost training scheme in recognition of the amount of deaf talent that exists out there. A year-long programme, it is designed to immerse trainees into the world of television production. The key learning tool is our monthly programme, The Muddy Boot Room, which focuses on deaf football. The trainees will be involved in researching and planning, location filming, scripting, managing budgets and post-production work. They will also have the opportunity to work on other programme commissions. Trainees will be given practical exercises and will take part in tailored training days, which will include hands-on workshops and presentations by leading deaf and hearing programme makers. Each trainee will have their own mentor from the television industry, who will work closely with them throughout the year. We held an assessment day at ITV Yorkshire and Raza and Ruaridh both excelled. They were great in discussions, demonstrated good team-work skills and showed their passion for television production. The programme is in its very early days, but on completion of the scheme we envisage the trainees will be added to a talent pool and be able to work on television productions for anyone.
I have a creative background working as an artist and saw this as a fantastic opportunity to fill in some of the more technical gaps in my knowledge, such as editing. I didn’t particularly have ambitions to work in television, but I’ve realised there are lots of elements of my work as an artist that transfer to it. I am interested to see what my future work will look like. There are people working with us from all different backgrounds and we’ve felt included from the word go. Plus, everyone here can sign. All staff are offered lessons to learn British Sign Language, which is very impressive. I want to network with as many people as possible and will hopefully be offered the chance to stay at ITV SignPost after my traineeship.
I have a background in animation and graphic design and, like Ruaridh, wanted to fill in the gaps in my experience. I was attracted to working in an organisation that celebrates diversity and makes high-quality programmes for deaf and mainstream audiences. The team feels like a family; they are deaffriendly, and I really appreciate that we’re encouraged to ask questions. At the moment we’re shadowing colleagues, and then we’ll be working on more specific tasks and projects. I’m looking forward to learning to edit and working on post-production. I feel I’ve had a difficult journey to get to where I am because of the lack of deaf awareness, and I always wanted to work in visual media but often missed out on opportunities. That’s why I’m excited about where this traineeship will lead me.