Sony Pictures, HBO, Studiocanal and Film4 are among film and TV firms joining UK diversity program Equal Access Network, which aims to get Londoners from under-represented backgrounds paid opportunities working in film and TV.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan today announced a £50,000 boost for the Network, which is overseen by agency Film London. The agency hopes to grow the pool of companies taking part in the project to 300 members, getting 180 people into paid work over the next year.

Participants so far include Working Title Film, ITV, Pathe, The Ink Factory, Two Brothers Pictures, Playground, Anton Corp, Objective Media Group, Altitude Film Entertainment, Bankside Films, SunnyMarch, Rocket Science and Michelle Kass Associates.

The partners will each provide one or more of the following: paid internships for new starters from the talent pool; returnships for parents/caregivers re-entering the industry; speakers and mentors for masterclasses, learning and networking events; and a commitment to interview candidates from the network for all entry level and junior-level positions.

The Network offers career support and bespoke advice to new starter, mid-level and returning employees and training for employers on how to find diverse employees. It will also offer masterclasses, workshops, CV surgeries and mentoring schemes.

Figures from a report for the BFI demonstrate that just 3% of production personnel working in the UK film and screen industries are from minority ethnic backgrounds, whilst 20% are women and 5% identify as disabled. The numbers are also bad on those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.