The UK’s Film Distributors’ Association is getting out in front of the industry’s diversity problem.

Speaking at the FDA’s summer reception in the House of Lords today, the organization’s president and former Columbia Pictures CEO David Puttnam, revealed “a game-changing increase in FDA’s commitment to training and development on behalf of UK film distributors.”

Among measures will be “a minimum of 200 new training places for women working in film distribution, supporting their continuing professional development across new courses and seminars, over the course of the next 18 months.”

The group, whose members include all major studios and leading independents, also committed to another edition of its paid internship scheme which puts those under-represented in the industry in 9-month placements across the sector. The scheme’s 2017 edition had a cohort 70% female and 90% from BAME backgrounds with all 12 participants achieving on-going employment in the sector.

Also launched today was the UK’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) focused on the distribution sector.

Chariots Of Fire producer Puttnam said: “I’m delighted the distribution sector in myriad ways is pro-actively inspiring both current and future generations, and shining an ever-brighter light on the vital business disciplines that drive our dynamic film industry. As a former Chancellor of the Open University I’m well aware that online education can utterly transform access to learning. I hope that our new MOOC inspires a large number of participants, not only people already involved in one or other branch of the media, but also those who might now consider the film business as an option for the future. When they do so, they’ll find an outstanding internship scheme purpose-built to open doors for people who might not otherwise have the opportunity.”

The FDA also took the opportunity to announce two new members: Brighton-based Bulldog Film Distribution and London-based Trinity Filmed Entertainment. This expands FDA’s membership to 32 companies.