19/02/24

Cwmni Da rated one of best places to work in UK

A pioneering North Wales TV production company is celebrating a quadruple dose of good news – including being lauded as one of the best places to work in the UK.

Staff at Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da (which means Good Company) say they were delighted but not surprised by the accolade from Broadcast magazine because they “just love” working there.

According to the workforce, they’re even more committed to the cause after making history five years ago when they took over the company and became an Employee Owned Trust, believed to be a first in the UK television industry.

Just over 12 months ago every member of staff received a £500 bonus to help them cope with the soaring cost of living.

In naming Cwmni Da as one of the best places to work in TV, the judges were persuaded by the raft of staff perks – including free pizza, team-building escape room adventures and charity fund-raising social events – as well as the glowing praise in a survey of the 53 employees that was conducted anonymously.

As well as the recognition from Broadcast, Cwmni Da was named by Televisual magazine as one of the Top 100 Truly Independent Media Companies in the UK.

Grants

The good news kept on coming when they heard they had secured two big grants to help them develop and grow as a company.

They were awarded £25,000 from Media Cymru’s Innovation Pipeline fund to develop the use of state-of-the-art XR (extended reality) technology for their multi-award winning children’s show, Deian a Loli, which merges real life and virtual images on a greenscreen backdrop.

Cwmni Da also received £25,000 from the BBC’s Small Indie Fund which was established to support the growth of up and coming independent companies.

Managing director Llion Iwan said: “Being selected to receive this funding is a real feather in our cap that will help us develop and grow.

“As well as the finance and training opportunities that come with the award from the BBC, there are opportunities to be mentored by the people who commission programmes and have a regular dialogue with them about what they are looking for.

“There are also opportunities for training through the National Film School and this is going to help us make better programmes that are more likely to appeal to television commissioners

“There are fortnightly meetings with the commissioner who’s mentoring you and they then introduce you to the relevant commissioners in the genres you want to develop.

“It’s all designed to raise our profile beyond S4C and improve the perception of Cwmni Da in the wider broadcast industry.

“We have already established a successful track record for award-winning international co-productions and this is something we want to do more of.”

Proud

Llion added he was very proud that the staff genuinely feel that Cwmni Da is a brilliant place to work.

Among them is production secretary Marian Griffith, 65, who has worked for Cwmni Da from day one when it was established in 1997.

She said: “It’s been an interesting journey and I have been given the opportunity to do different things as the company has developed. It’s great to be able to work through the medium of Welsh morning, noon and night.

“Everybody works towards the same goal and we’re all supportive of each other – it’s like a family.

“From the very beginning, the company has been very willing to consider people’s own individual family circumstances if anything crops up.

“The fact that we all now have a stake in the company, means we are even more committed and hard working than ever. If you’re happy in your work, you are going to be better at what you do.

It was a view echoed by technical head Carwyn Dafydd, 34, who said: “I’m very lucky to be able to work in the broadcast industry and I just love it here, especially as I live so close in Felinheli.

“The best thing about Cwmni Da is the people who work here, they’re brilliant.

“The fact that the company is owned by the staff means that people are working even harder because they know they are working for themselves and their colleagues, with the opportunity of a bonus at the end of the year.”

Executive assistant Sophie Craig, 35, is one of the newer recruits, having started there just over a year ago.

She said: “One of the reasons I was keen to join Cwmni Da is because the staff turnover is so low which speaks volumes about the company.

“The company also invests in the staff by providing loads of training opportunities and professional development, as well as being great in terms of work-life balance.

“I really enjoy working at Cwmni Da because it’s such a friendly place. It’s always a pleasure to come into work because you feel valued here.”

“Cwmni Da has absolutely lived up to the name and more since I joined. It really is a good company. In fact, it’s a brilliant company. “

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