Channel 4 is to offer work opportunities to 40 television directors from minority groups, as it refocuses its efforts to improve diversity.

The move is one of four goals for the coming year, which also includes developing a strategy around social mobility.

The plan was unveiled at an event in parliament, which coincided with Channel 4’s annual diversity lecture, this year given by actor Riz Ahmed.

Directors from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, female directors and those with a disability will be the focus of the scheme to improve representation within the profession, while the channel is also promising to progress the careers of 10 high-potential BAME individuals.

There are also plans to encourage diversity in advertising and pioneer a strategy to help increase opportunities for people from socioeconomic backgrounds that are currently underrepresented.

The targets for this year are the latest development of Channel 4’s 360-degree Diversity Charter, launched in 2015.

In 2016, which was dedicated to disability representation, Channel 4 more than doubled the number of disabled people appearing in 20 of its high-profile shows, and also worked on improving pathways for disabled people off screen.

Announcing the latest charter, Channel 4’s chief marketing and communications officer, Dan Brooke, said: “Diversity is the lifeblood of creativity, so it’s imperative we keep challenging ourselves, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes us more innovative and more commercially successful.”

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