our work.

foot in the door.

We delivered our pilot “Foot In The Door” programme in 2022 with SharpFutures. Even as an unknown, start-up charity at the time, 99 young people applied. The programme gave our 6 participants 8 weeks of recruitment and careful onboarding, followed by 6 weeks boot camp learning about different production techniques, digital storytelling, creative ideas generation, writing and pitching. They developed their communication and teamwork skills through a wide range of workshops and masterclasses. After the initial bootcamp, they spent a further 6 weeks developing their creative and digital skills, on work placements with: digital publisher LADbible; ITV Studios (including on The Bay, Tall Story Pictures); Lime Pictures (on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks); and Studio Lambert North (on Four in a Bed and Naked Attraction). They were paid a real living wage throughout our 12 week programme- making it genuinely accessible.


After graduating our programme, the group had a behind the scenes tour of LBC radio with broadcaster James O’Brien, a visit to digital experts Little Dot Studios and a round table discussion with various senior executives, including Jane Turton (All3Media, Royal Television Society). The cohort were all then matched with mentors for a minimum of six months mentoring and invited to join the SharpFutures talent pool and recruitment programme, People On Demand (POD).

Despite strong desire, plus many previous attempts, none of these young people had worked in the media before. When we met them, all were either unemployed or in entry roles that did not interest them. All have since moved onto employment in the creative industries or are receiving professional development through our alumni programmes. You can read more about their progress in our Where Are They Now section. Foot In The Door showed that properly tailored interventions really change lives- supporting the creative industry’s desire to improve access and embrace more diverse talent. We are so proud of our alumni and all they have achieved.

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Aala discovered the Andy Taylor Foundation when she received an invitation to an open day at Sharp Futures through the Department of Work & Pensions. Her application presented a unique blend of strengths: an academic foundation in engineering, coupled with evident creativity that had previously earned her recognition, including winning a BFI Academy competition for her inaugural short film. As soon as we met her, Aala shone as a unique talent with a quietly assured, intelligent presence. Reflecting on her journey, Aala expressed, “I was applying for jobs for a very long time, without success. After I was selected to take part in Foot In The Door, I appreciated the fact that I was seen as a person, as an individual.”

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Grace Barnes

Grace heard about Foot in the Door via a Facebook link, forwarded by her Mum. When she applied, she was out of paid work, spending a lot of my time helping her Mum with my grandma and looking after her animals. Alongside her family responsibilities, she found time to create and post really entertaining content. She had already built a following of around 2,000 YouTube subscribers. Grace’s creative vision, warm delivery and instinctive editing skills shone out to us through her videos.

Being able to place Grace at LADbible for her FITD work placement felt like a match made in heaven. She excelled from day one. Before she had even finished her six week placement, LADbible offered her a full time job.

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Michael Harrison

Michael always had a huge pull to creative media, hustling from a young age to turn his dream to reality. He secured a place on the Creative Media Course (Film & TV) at UTC, MediaCity. However, on leaving school, he had to take up work rather than go to Uni. Unable to find a suitable entry level media role, Michael carried on writing scripts on the side and worked in a cinema to continue indulging his passion. When he heard about Foot in the Door, he felt it was ideal for him.

Michael’s love of the sector was immediately apparent to us, and his enthusiasm infectious. Michael told us he liked big entertainment formats and had always admired Studio Lambert. We were therefore thrilled to place him with them- initially casting ‘Four in a Bed’, but then he decided it would be an interesting challenge to support ‘Naked Attraction’.

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Francesco Killough

Francesco was struggling to find a job of any kind in the year after he finished college. He went to the job centre and one of the first things they put in front of him was the Foot in the Door course. He told his job coach he wanted to apply. With an artistic eye, clear creativity and a love of camera work of all types, Francesco impressed us with his mild mannered confidence. He has gravitas beyond his years.

We placed Frankie with ITV Studios. He thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, but really revelled in his time on set (including with major drama, ‘The Bay’). Frankie told us “The experience on set of ‘The Bay’ was a real make or break moment for me. Yes, I had a great passion for creating and filming on my own small scale, but if I’d not found a place for myself on a professional production I’d have found myself at a loose end…. I enjoyed every moment on-set. Each department I was involved in… really broadened my mind as to what I could hope to do in the future, from once relatively narrow goals. I gained a greater appreciation of how everyone contributes to a stellar end-product. Being so close to industry standard equipment I’d only read up until that point about, was likewise really exciting and I was constantly appreciative of how friendly and welcoming everyone was”.

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Lysette found the Andy Taylor Foundation via a link on Twitter, sent to her by her sister. Lysette had always wanted a career in the media and was working at Sky, but in their call centre. During her application process for Foot In The Door, we found she was a charismatic, driven person with a particular interest in short form content, social media and communications.

For her FITD placement, Lysette took on the additional demand of travelling to Liverpool each day, working at Hollyoaks with Lime Pictures. Lysette relished every opportunity, throwing herself into cast interviews and creating her own short form content.

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Divine Vika

Divine has an uplifting presence and a fantastic work ethic. She studied journalism and was interested in a route into news or documentaries when we first met her. Divine heard about Foot in the Door from the SharpFutures website. Her professionalism was clear to us immediately. She was a big asset on our course.

Our available work placements didn’t gel quite as neatly with Divine’s goals as they did for most of our cohort, but she still grabbed the opportunity at LADbible with both hands.

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We partnered with Factory International, Manchester, in 2023, to support the delivery of their 12-week programme for future cultural leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. The Future Cultural Leaders course was devised and delivered by, Factory Academy, Factory International’s Skills & Training department, to address the pressing issue of a lack of diversity amongst leadership in the cultural sector - an issue evidenced by all the currently available data. The Andy Taylor Foundation led the entrepreneurial and communications week, providing speakers such as Rob Love (Crowdfunder), Lisa Paasche (EKTE Vision) and James O’Brien (broadcaster and author). The programme’s participants gave fantastic feedback about our sessions, really enjoying the practical, real-life insights.


“As Programme Manager at Factory Academy leading the Future Cultural Leaders project, I’m happy to highlight our collaboration with The Andy Taylor Foundation. Their extensive network has been instrumental in enriching our programme. Thanks to their connections, we were able to provide our participants with access to industry experts who brought invaluable insights and inspiration. Their contributions were pivotal in enhancing the programme’s impact in fostering a diverse and inclusive cultural leadership landscape.”

Kiran Sethi - Factory Academy’s Programme Lead