In My Opinion: Graham Bryce: Why a Scottish Media Academy

THIS year, 2012, will, I hope, be remembered as a landmark year for media in Scotland; the year in which we designed, implemented and launched the Scottish Media Academy – an innovative education centre aiming to discover and develop Scotland’s future media prospects.

Our aim is to nurture the media talent pool and the most effective way to do this – while bearing in mind our own needs at Bauer Media – was to create a centre for excellence, innovation and inspiration in media education and the industry.

The Scottish Media Academy is designed to do two things: firstly, to find, support and develop the best new media talent for Scotland, and, secondly, to enable everyone – from school children and their parents to corporate businesses – to understand the complexity of the media landscape, how it is changing and evolving and how they can use it to their benefit.

We are currently at the confluence of three trends: The media sector is evolving, changing and adapting at an ever faster rate. Traditional media organisations are going through unprecedented change and having to adapt to an entirely different landscape, with the proliferation of digital and social media as well as the pressure on consumer’s time. Less money is available for training and development of staff, as businesses are squeezed through the economic downturn.

The accumulative effect of these three trends is that media organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to find talent who have the necessary, rounded skills required for today’s modern media platforms.

In this fast-paced sector, all major media organisations are having to upskill quickly and adapt to the moving digital media landscape. We recognise that as a leading media outlet, we need to be at the forefront of this transformation, so we are investing heavily in new talent and training to drive our business forward.

Our Academy is at the heart of this, opening doors and identifying the next generation of media stars. We see learning as a continual process and the Academy can help people achieve their goals.

Traditional media organisations have been downsizing and getting caught in the spiral of chasing the dwindling pool of talent, the majority of which we have failed to prepare for the modern media world. This cannot continue and organisations such as Bauer Media have now made an active decision that, in order to grow and ensure we remain equipped to survive and expand in this new world, we need to invest in and produce new talent from within.

To counteract these developments, Bauer Media made the active decision to invest in its new and exciting Scottish Media Academy.

We are bringing together leading academics in media in Scotland, along with those working in the media arena to deliver a unique and industry-leading combination of cutting-edge theory with experience from those who are at the top of their fields, working to equip our industry with skills that are needed now and in the future.

We have a solid commitment to the Scottish Media Academy and have brought Courtnay McLeod – Visiting Professor of Media at the University of Sassari in Italy – on board as Director of the Academy.

In parallel, we have also decided to go against the grain and launch a graduate management scheme across the UK to invest in and encourage new talent. These two separate but important initiatives demonstrate our significant investment in the future of the industry and in helping to support budding new careers in media.

It is not about pitting ourselves against traditional methods of learning.

Being the first of its kind in Scotland, the Media Academy will work in conjunction with, and is complementary to, traditional higher education, bringing a wide variety of courses specifically tailored for individual requirements and knowledge levels.

We will offer media summer schools for young adults still at school, sector specific training for individuals wishing to specialise in a single area and accredited courses that will equip young people for specific roles within the future of the Bauer Media business.

The Scottish Media Academy will provide a much needed springboard for Scottish talent interested in pursuing a career within the media.

Graham Bryce is managing director of Bauer Media Scotland.

Pic: Peter Devlin