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Inclusive hiring joins suite of e-learning designed to make UK screen a better place to work

Feb 22, 2022

Two free online learning modules have been launched as part of ScreenSkills’ suite of e-learning to support achieving real change in film, television, animation, VFX and games.

Inclusive hiring for the screen industries provides support for developing more inclusive recruitment and hiring practices. This module is suitable for anyone working in the screen industries, particularly freelancers or those working at smaller companies.

Introduction to mental health awareness at work has been designed to help anyone working in the sector learn basic skills to manage and maintain good mental health and support their colleagues. It also provides links to a wealth of valuable, more in-depth support resources to use and share with others.

Both new modules are part of a wider suite of online training aimed at improving the working environment for screen professionals. Other training modules already available in this series include Tackling harassment and bullying at work and Addressing unconscious bias: basic awareness in the workplace, which have been taken by nearly 14,000 people in total since launch. (Broader e-learning, including Covid basic awareness on production and in cinemas, and employability modules for new entrants bring the total to 97,000 individuals.)

Tim Weiss, ScreenSkills director of vocational skills, said: “One of ScreenSkills’ key goals is to provide the screen industries with the tools to help make the sector a welcoming, safe and fair place to work. These new modules are important additions to our already very well received online training that have those aims in mind.”

Inclusive hiring was developed together with Challenge Consultancy, Pact and a group of HR experts from leading production companies, while Introduction to mental health awareness at work was written by psychotherapist and experienced trainer, Sarah McCaffrey from Solas Mind.

Both modules were supported by:

The BFI, awarding National Lottery funds as part of its Future Film Skills strategy

The ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund, with contributions from high-end television productions

The ScreenSkills Television Skills Fund, with contributions from the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5

Arts Council England supported the launch of the online learning platform.

Industry support

Industry partners and practitioners were consulted in the development of the e-learning and is backing its rollout.

Dr Paul Litchfield, independent chief medical adviser to ITV, said: “Mental health has been neglected for too long in our society.  Poor mental health can blight people’s lives but good mental health allows them to flourish and thrive.  Understanding how we can establish an environment that promotes high levels of wellbeing and reduces the risk of illness is important for all of us, and nowhere more so than in the creative industries. The programme that ScreenSkills has put together for those of us working in Film and TV is a welcome addition to the resources available.  Absorbing and applying the learning will help us to work in smarter ways, producing better content and contributing to greater happiness for ourselves and those we work with.”

Jacqui Doyle, head of production and talent, ITV, said: “It is vital that we up-skill our production teams so that diversity and inclusion are firmly embedded in all our recruitment activities as well as create a work culture that underpins good mental health.  The new ScreenSkills’ inclusive hiring and mental health awareness e-learning modules set out a clear set of principles that work for production environments and set a much needed common set of standards the whole industry can get behind and work to.”

Bella Lambourne, HR and operations director, Banijay UK, said: “I’m delighted that ScreenSkills has developed an e-learning module we can all use to help us professionalise our recruitment practices and end the café culture interview approach the TV industry has relied on for so many years. I believe if we can get this right it will be the single most effective path to building a truly inclusive and diverse industry where the best people for the job will be hired and succeed. I can’t wait for it’s launch so all our hiring freelancers and teams can have the guidance to recruit production teams wherever and whenever they need.”

Clare Welch, group head of resourcing, All3Media, said: “As an industry we have long recognised the need to create consistent signposting and frameworks so we can promote compliant processes and best practices to attract and retain talent, across the industry.  Inclusive hiring and mental health e-modules are a step in the right direction.   With the new e-learning modules we will all, freelancers included, be able to access practical resources so we can start to erode poor hiring habits, change behaviours and access wide pools of inclusive talent, as well as offer support for all talent, with raising mental health awareness.”

Alex Pumfrey, CEO, The Film and TV Charity, said: “Our research has shown how poor mental health and wellbeing has become normalised in our industry. This is not sustainable, and is a risk to the industry’s urgent need to attract brilliant and diverse talent. ScreenSkills’ impressive new e-learning modules are a vital part of the solution the industry needs to help make our industry a healthy and exciting place to work. Alongside the Film and TV Charity’s services and our soon-to-launch toolkit to support mental health on productions, these new ScreenSkills’ resources will help everyone to play their part in supporting better mental health at work, and I am delighted to see them being made available free to all.”

Jennifer Smith, head of inclusion at the BFI, said: “A healthy workplace culture and staff wellbeing are crucial in all industries, and it is no surprise this is something we are hearing loud and clear as we are undertaking the screen sector Skills Review. It will remain a key priority for the industry in 2022 and beyond and we welcome this valuable resource from ScreenSkills.”

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