Benefiting the disadvantaged with training in new skills

There is a skills gap across the UK. High-tech digital employees are being brought in from abroad to address these shortfalls. The Government is trying to stem this flow, and is even considering charging companies £1,000 per year for every such member of staff employed.

Society is becoming increasingly culturally diverse, and this is particularly true in Peterborough, its surrounding towns, and the Fenlands. Young and old alike are feeling disconnected from their community, leading to feelings of isolation and a lack of worth. This is very often linked to poor skills sets, reducing the potential employability of these individuals.

Local TV has been made a necessity due to the previous suppliers, BBC and ITV, reducing or pulling out entirely from production of programmes reflecting the views and culture of local communities. 34 cities already have been licensed to have their own channels on Freeview, the most widely-used platform to access television through. Peterborough is the 27th largest City in the UK, and has the second fastest rate of expansion. The region is being marginalised when it doesn't need to be, as it has not been considered - yet - to be licenced for its own station.

These three considerations can be addressed and resolved with one project. Hereward Television has an innovative approach which will prove to be a low-cost sustainable model. Through an educational facility, we will train our targeted beneficiaries with high-tech digital skills, enabling them to increase their currency with local employers, and beyond. The ancillary outputs from the station will be their training ground, and those trained will help others, with key success being from the securing of full-time employment via the teaching of transferable skills. Internet and journalism skills will also be nurtured via our online local news website.

At the same time the programmes, the format of which will be driven by the interests of our beneficiaries, and will ensure we impress first our potential further beneficiaries, then potential business investors, and finally Ofcom - who we would like to grant us a broadcasting licence for Freeview, which serves 76% of all households. The outputs will generate interest in the courses we offer, showcase the work of our beneficiaries (offering a real world platform of 'on-air experience'), and to provide impetus to seek the new skills we can provide, through quality of service rather than in terms of entertainment in particular.

Television is expanding across a whole host of platforms, but we will focus on formats which engage through interaction, ensuring relevance for our training. We will develop programmes which are live, have interaction via phone, texts, social media and Skype, some with a live audience, advancing the social skills of those who get involved. Outside broadcasts will ensure contact with beneficiaries, where we can be seen to be part of the region's many communities.

The business will be not-for-profit; a company limited by guarantee, and a registered charity. Those engaged will also be its beneficiaries, with initially three full-time staff to keep everything running smoothly. It will be made possible through grants, business donations and eventually advertising at a competitive rate. We are first and foremost a community organisation which uses television and the internet to do good work in our target communities.