UKFC and industry training body Skillset support new Women in Film and Television (WFTV) scheme to give women with more than five years experience in the industries the opportunity to be mentored for six months by a key industry figure.

The programme, headed by WFTV producer Nicola Lees, will involve mentoring, seminars, training and networking opportunities between January and June 2011. Sixteen places will be divided equally between TV and film professionals.

According to Lees, at least 40 industry figures are keen to support the scheme, with potential mentors including producer Anand Tucker (Girl with a Pearl Earring), cinematographer Oliver Stapleton (The Proposal) and producer Serena Cullen (Pulse Films).

Eon has also come on board as a supporter of the initiative.

Mary Fitzpatrick, head of diversity, UK Film Council, said: “It it is absolutely vital that each generation of women is given support and encouragement. No one gets anywhere in this industry without knowing somebody: it is very much about who you know. Each person in the mentoring scheme will be able to form a genuine relationship with a senior industry figure and that is an advantage that will stay with them for the rest of their career.”

According to recent research carried out by Skillset and a poll by Broadcast magazine, women aged 35 or over working in the film and TV industries are under-represented and suffer age, sex and pay discrimination.