What Business Needs from Brum: this month we talk to Joe Godwin the new director of BBC Birmingham
Please introduce yourself
I am Joe Godwin, Director of the BBC Academy and BBC Birmingham – the Corporation’s new centre for skills and talent. I’m responsible for maintaining the skill levels of the BBC’s world class content, journalist and digital creatives across the UK and overseas and developing the new skills the BBC needs to stay ahead. I’m also involved in developing high profile partnerships and work with funding bodies, the university sector, overseas clients, government and regional agencies and training organisations – including those across the West Midlands.
What does your company do?
Our services include 10 national TV channels plus regional programming, 10 national radio stations, 39 local radio stations – including BBC WM of course – and an extensive website including one bringing local news to Birmingham residents. BBC Birmingham is also the home of the The Archers, and BBC One shows like WPC56, Doctors, Father Brown and forthcoming drama The Coroner.
Is Brum a good place to do business?
Our recent move to bring an additional 200 roles to Birmingham is evidence that we believe this is a great place to do business, and our central location at the Mailbox brings real opportunity to make Birmingham an attractive proposition for business. Partners and agencies across the city and the region are keen to encourage and help us do more and to involve us in partnerships.
What are your biggest gripes with it?
As a Midlands native I know that the city can at times be too modest and self-deprecating, but I see so much we can shout about.
How do you feel your audiences see the city?
Our aim is to continue to reflect and portray the city and region to national audiences. The popularity of Peaky Blinders is a recent output that has connected with local audiences and beyond. There are more in the pipeline.
Does Birmingham offer any particular advantages as a destination for business?
It has a young, diverse population and there’s no shortage of talent. Birmingham will be BBC’s centre for skills and talent as we’re moving HR specialist teams here alongside the BBC Academy. We expect this to bring real economic benefits to the city.
What should our priorities be as a city?
All companies should make the most of the city’s youth and diversity. Following the success of 1Xtra Live in Birmingham we want to bring more BBC events and content like this here, so watch this space! From an employment point of view we need to attract the local population to thriving local businesses and to the BBC. It is our aspiration to increase the numbers of apprentices and trainees going through our academy to find work at BBC Birmingham.
If you had £1bn to spend on improving Brum what would you do with it?
Once I’d enjoyed counting it a few times, I’d spend some of it having the trams routed through the middle of the Mailbox so more people could see all the changes we’re planning to make at BBC Birmingham! The rest I’d spend moving some of Birmingham’s 60s brutalist buildings to an architectural theme park – somewhere a long way from here!