Manchester

MP Hazel Blears tells BBC 'MediaCity must recruit more locals'

MediaCity
Image caption Balfour Beatty, which supplies BBC buildings, recruited 90 people from Salford

The BBC "must do better" to employ people from Salford at its MediaCity site, Salford and Eccles MP Hazel Blears has said.

Her remarks came as it emerged only 26 of 680 new jobs created at Salford Quays had gone to residents.

The majority of the 1,846 staff who work at the site have moved from other BBC offices around the country.

BBC North's human resources director Ken Lee said recruitment was "based on skills and experience, not postcode".

Ms Blears said she was "shocked" at the figures and wanted people from Salford to "have a fair crack of the whip" at the new jobs at MediaCity.

'Maximise opportunities'

"I'm really disappointed they haven't been able to do better," she said.

"There is much, much more the BBC can do to try and recruit people from the local area.

"The BBC has a responsibility as a major local employer to maximise the opportunities for local people.

"Morrisons supermarket have just opened a store in exactly the same area and something like 80% of those jobs have come from the Salford estate.

"I know the BBC is not retail but they can do better than 3.5% I'm sure."

In total, more than 23,000 people from Greater Manchester applied for jobs at the BBC's new base in Salford Quays.

The BBC said that, of those, 246 were successful - including the 26 from Salford - filling more than a third of all new positions.

Mr Lee defended the BBC's commitment to the area.

"Twenty six is not the whole story," he said.

"We have moved to an area without an established media skills base. Our future commitment - which is a long-term commitment - is to grow the skills base in this area."

'Work with schools'

"It is about developing the skills in the area and [giving] them employment experience and access to a very exciting jobs market."

The corporation has started two schemes offering apprentices to teenagers with no previous qualifications or experience from Salford and Greater Manchester.

Balfour Beatty, which supplies support staff within the BBC buildings, has also recruited 90 staff from the Salford area.

Ms Blears said she wanted to see the BBC "work with schools, offer pre-employment training and show genuine commitment to be part of the community".

She said had met the BBC's director general Mark Thompson last week and was meeting the director of BBC North Peter Salmon next week over the issue.

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