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BBC criticised over local jobs at Salford base

By
BBC North

© BBC

Hazel Blears, the MP for Salford, has said that she will challenge the BBC over the "incredibly disappointing" number of local people who have been employed at the new BBC North base at MediaCity.

Yesterday, it emerged that of the 3,172 people from Salford, Greater Manchester, who applied for jobs at the BBC's new northern base in Salford Quay, only 24 were successful.

Of the 24 Salford natives, eight were hired on six-month "ambassador" contracts for 16 to 19-year-olds, who are there to meet and greet guests to MediaCity.

The figures, obtained following a freedom of information request, revealed that the BBC has created 1,846 jobs at Salford Quays.

However, the majority have gone to people from other BBC offices around the country, mostly London and the old Oxford Road base in Manchester. MediaCity is home to various BBC departments, including BBC Sport, Children's and part of Radio 5 Live.

The BBC is operating an apprentice scheme at Mediacity, which has already taken 16 people from Great Manchester, but none from Salford.

However, BBC bosses said that Balfour Beatty, which supplies support staff within BBC North buildings, had recruited 90 staff from the Salford area.

Blears has now written to Peter Salmon, the director of BBC North, to complain about the lack of local recruitment at the base.

The MP for Salford and Eccles told the Manchester Evening News: "The BBC needs to up its game and start to employ local people for local jobs.

"I'm shocked they have only come up with such a small number and I think they can do much, much better. In these difficult economic times it is vital that local people are able to take jobs in their home areas."

BBC North human resources director Ken Lee said that the base had made a "promising start" since it opened last May, including broad recruitment across the north of England "based on skills and experience, not by postcode".

"Initiatives such as the ambassador and apprenticeship programmes offer local residents the chance not only to gain valuable entry level experience but permanent jobs as well," he said.

"Of the BBC North workforce now based at MediaCity, about half were originally locally based - either working for the BBC in Manchester or living within reasonable travelling distance of MediaCity already.

"And half chose to move to the north either when their BBC jobs were relocated to Salford or as a result of applying for Salford-based jobs."

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