ScreenSkills is to invest £488,000 in training for the UK film industry including measures to tackle identified gaps in leadership and management skills, support craft and tech grades and digital marketing, and help build a more inclusive workforce.
More than 1,000 film professionals across the UK will benefit from the training which is being supported by the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, and by the ScreenSkills Film Skills Fund, with voluntary industry contributions.
Gareth Ellis-Unwin, ScreenSkills’ Head of Film and Animation, said: “Our investment in skills and training is carefully targeted to answer industry demands and to help develop a more inclusive workforce.”
Iain Smith, producer and Chair of the Film Skills Fund, said: “We are spending industry contributions on areas where we know there needs to be investment such as leadership and management and job roles such as grips, editing and art direction. I am also pleased to see the efforts being made to help develop a more diverse workforce and address issues such as mental health.”
Leigh Adams, Director of Education and Skills at the BFI, said: “We welcome ScreenSkills’ funding awards, and their commitment to supporting craft and creative skills, as well as enabling the ongoing professional development of our workforce to help ensure it remains world-class.”
In the latest round of commissions, ScreenSkills sought to address skills needs that have been highlighted by industry through the Skills Forecasting Service which was established better to identify skills gaps and shortages and underpin investment decisions.
Submissions were sought in three key areas – technical, craft and creative skills, professional skills shortages and supporting under-represented groups. There were 46 submissions for funding and 22 programmes were commissioned. All programmes will work to meet recruitment targets designed to develop a more inclusive workforce, with some training specifically targeting groups under-represented in the film industry, such as an editing and production coordinator programme tailored to support disabled talent.
There are six programmes dedicated to improving leadership and management in response to industry demand. In the 2019 Annual ScreenSkills Assessment, employers identified the top three skills gaps in the workforce as management skills (44%), leadership skills (44%) and project management skills (40%).
The investment includes a leadership programme with the Independent Cinema Office, a return of the Bird’s Eye View Future Leaders in Distribution scheme which supports women executives in distribution and effective leadership training by Bauer Academy in Northern Ireland.
Other courses will offer essential skills to production coordinators and Movie Magic budgeting and scheduling for line producers. There is also investment in three courses in art direction as well as a programme in editing and production. ScreenSkills continues to support grips and cranes qualifications at Buckinghamshire College.
Investment is also targeted at helping address particular industry issues or overcoming particular barriers to progression. Two courses are designed to improve support for workers with mental health issues. Raising Films is being funded to support people returning to work after a parenting or caring break. The British Independent Film Awards are being funded to extend the pioneering unconscious bias training offered to their voters last year to other voting bodies.
Industry requests for training in digital marketing is being met by two programmes, one in data-driven marketing for independent cinemas, film festivals and exhibition and another in effective social media marketing to help a range of people in the industry requiring those skills.
The focus is on craft and tech grades except for continued support for iFeatures, the development lab for debut feature filmmakers, run by Creative England, with support from BFI, BBC Films and ScreenSkills.
Full details of courses funded, the skills they are addressing, training providers and region served can be found in Notes to editors.
ScreenSkills funds continuing professional development to support career progression under a strategic plan designed to support UK screen with a skilled workforce and to develop a more inclusive screen industry talent pipeline. This is in line with the BFI’s 10-point Future Film Skills strategy which includes professional development courses to make sure the industry maintains world-class skills.
Other programmes supported by the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds, include Skills to Film, an initiative to help professionals in other sectors to transfer their skills into the screen industries, as well as support for the development of apprenticeship standards for film and television.