From education to employment

New-look skills body launches giving back initiative to secure a skilled workforce for UK screen

Creative Skillset today adopts a new name, ScreenSkills, to more clearly reflect the work we do delivering a skilled workforce for the UK’s screen industries – film, television, animation, VFX (visual effects) and games.

The new identity is launched with an initiative, Giving Back, which calls on the industry to play its part in ensuring the UK has the skilled workforce needed to seize opportunities created by the film and television production boom.

It calls for greater collaboration in finding and nurturing new recruits, upskilling existing screen professionals and creating a genuinely inclusive workforce in the face of unprecedented demand and the massive growth in production.

Richard Johnston, Chief Executive of Endemol Shine UK and Chair of ScreenSkills, said: “I know from experience the challenges facing the screen industries in attracting and retaining a skilled and inclusive workforce. I also know that there is no silver bullet. But I do know that we in the industry have to play our part in all the ways we can.

“There needs to be greater investment in skills and training if the UK is to maintain its global reputation in screen. Other countries are investing in training and upskilling their workforces in the creative industries and we cannot afford to rest on our historic reputation.”

Seetha Kumar, Chief Executive of ScreenSkills, said: “We are asking our colleagues in the industry to help us move skills up the agenda and secure the talent pipeline. We need to invest more, in time and in money, if we are going to seize the huge opportunities for growth.

“We have a strong infrastructure of studios and production facilities with more coming on tap. As capacity is ramped up, we must make sure we have the skilled workforce to keep UK production buoyant. We also want everyone of talent, whatever their background, to have the opportunity to join the industry, progress in it and help further current success.”

ScreenSkills has developed a simple Giving Back menu outlining the ways in which everyone can play their part in helping widen the talent pool and create a workforce fit for the challenges of the 21st century.

The menu includes reminders to pay the industry levies – now re-named skills funds – that support training as well as gifts of time for mentoring, industry quality-checking of further and higher education and short courses with ScreenSkills’ Tick programme and supplying information to the new Skills Forecasting Survey which aims to inform planning and investment in training.

Leading figures from industry have given their backing.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of ITV, said: “Harnessing creative talents in all the nations and regions is important if we are to enable television and film, along with other parts of the creative industries, to reach their full potential.  We should all back the work being done by ScreenSkills to build capacity outside London and the South East and to create opportunities for a more diverse range of young people to enter and progress in the industry.”

Josh Berger, President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, said: “The UK’s position as a global production powerhouse depends on our ability to attract, support and train the best talent from all backgrounds. ScreenSkills is a key partner to us and many across the film, games and TV industries, as we all work together to ensure a diverse pipeline of highly-skilled professionals working at every level.” 

Barbara Broccoli, producer, EON Productions, said: “One of the greatest strengths of the British film industry is the talent of our workforce.  I encourage everyone in the industry to continue to work with ScreenSkills in developing new recruits from diverse backgrounds.”

Paul W M Golding, Chairman and interim CEO, Pinewood Group, said: “Pinewood is expanding and investing heavily in infrastructure. Such investment must go hand-in-hand with the development and training of crews if the UK is to maintain its reputation as a great place to make both films and high-end television.  We fully support ScreenSkills’ plans and welcome the start of an important conversation about what we all need to do to boost recruitment into the industry and to ensure we have the skills needed to respond to the growing demand.”

Daisy Goodwin, writer, television producer and new ScreenSkills patron, said: “The thing I love about working on TV is that you are surrounded by a phalanx of highly trained people who all know exactly what they are doing. It’s a really democratic business and I am supporting ScreenSkills because I want young people to realise how many opportunities there are and what a great business it is to be in.”

Lord Hall, Director-General of the BBC, said: “The BBC has always been a key supporter of Creative Skillset, now ScreenSkills. I’ve seen first-hand the great work they do to bring the industry together and champion training and skills.  We will continue to work closely together to open up opportunities for all.”

Alex Hope, Managing Director, Double Negative, said: “Over the last decade, the UK has become a global centre for VFX (visual effects).  Everybody in the industry recognises that it needs to ensure we have enough people available, with the right skills, to build on that success. ScreenSkills is taking the lead in getting to grips with this, but it is critical that all of us in the VFX industry, both as companies and individuals, play our part in these efforts. ScreenSkills needs industry support if it is to deliver the talent pipeline we need.”

Alex Mahon, Chief Executive of Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 has inclusion and diversity at its heart and shares these principles with ScreenSkills. Making sure the industry is open to all and that talent is developed across all the UK is essential for a vibrant and dynamic industry so we are proud to support the important work that ScreenSkills does.”

Julie Parmenter, CEO, Molinare, said: “The UK is recognised as a centre of excellence for the creative industries including film and TV. More productions than ever are choosing London for their post. In order to ensure we meet the increasing demand whilst retaining the exceptional quality, we need to invest in the next generation of talent. ScreenSkills is a vital partner is helping us to achieve our goals. It is important that our industry is accessible to everyone and we need the training and support in place to do this and ensure we find the most talented people regardless of background.”

The work of ScreenSkills is supported by the BFI with National Lottery funds awarded as part of the Future Film Skills programme as well as with funds from broadcasters, Arts Council England and industry contributions to the skills funds (commonly known as the levies).

Giving Back for screen professionals

You can offer:

  • Placements to new recruits in film and high-end TV through the Trainee Finder scheme
  • Apprenticeships
  • Vocational training opportunities to support NVQs, BTEC or the new T-levels
  • To host an Open Doors event to welcome potential new recruits into the workplace.

You can volunteer:

  • As a mentor through the new Screen Mentoring UK service
  • To give careers talks – in schools, colleges or universities or at careers events, including through Speakers for Schools and Into Film
  • To act as industry assessor for Tick to make sure that higher and further education courses are industry-relevant
  • To be part of an Apprenticeship Trailblazer group
  • To offer insight and feedback on skills gaps to the Skills Forecasting Service
  • In-kind support – crew, equipment, editing facilities or more to help bring key initiatives, such as the careers campaign and mentoring service, to life
  • To be an industry spokesperson. If you are a respected industry leader, give your name, voice and social media to endorse all or any of these initiatives.

You can pay in to the skills funds. The skills funds, commonly known as levies – in film, high-end and children’s television and animation – support skills and training programmes managed by ScreenSkills in skills shortage areas identified by industry.

If these contributions are not paid, ScreenSkills cannot leverage its organisational and financial muscle to maximum effect. We are urging the industry to recognise that other training investment should be additional to these contributions, not a substitute.

We are now calling the levies skills funds to distinguish them from the government’s mandatory apprenticeship levy.

The BFI awarded ScreenSkills, then Creative Skillset, a £19 million contract in December 2017 to deliver its Future Film Skills programme using National Lottery funds.

ScreenSkills also collects and manages voluntary industry levies or skills investment funds including film, which raised £937,000 in 2017/18, and high-end television, which raised £2.6 million in 2017/18.

The levies for high-end TV, animation and children’s live-action television were agreed and introduced as part of industry’ negotiations with government over the introduction of tax reliefs.

ScreenSkills is developing a number of major initiatives to support the screen-based industries, which are conservatively valued as being worth £14.4 billion to the UK economy. They include action points which form part of the BFI’s Future Film Skills plan such as a Skills Forecasting Service – providing UK-wide data to inform skills investment decisions – as well as other activities, such as careers information, accreditation, mentoring and bursaries which build on past work.       

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