Forty apprentices in roles desperately needed by the UK’s booming film and television sector are to be recruited by ScreenSkills with major industry partners thanks to Department for Education funding announced today (Thursday 10 February).
ScreenSkills, the skills body for the UK’s screen industries, is among national employers awarded a grant to run a flexi-job apprenticeship project, building on lessons learned from its pioneering apprenticeship pilot still underway with Netflix and WarnerMedia.
Lead partner Prime Video, alongside Banijay UK, Lime Pictures and Sky with APX Content Ventures (a global practice within Publicis Media) are taking part in the new programme which intends to recruit apprentices as production assistants, assistant production accountants, production coordinators and production managers – all skills shortage areas in the current production boom. Prime Video are responsible for funding half the total places.
Recruitment will start this month with the ambition of having the first apprentices in place by May, with a second cohort starting in September. The industry partners are funding additional costs involved in enabling the programme to go ahead.
The aim of both the new and existing project is to develop and test an apprenticeship agency model to “unlock” apprenticeships for physical production in film and TV, as traditional apprenticeships do not work for many production roles which are typically freelance and involve shorter contracts. The new pilot will bring in a broader range of partners and enable more apprentices to take part across a wider range of roles.
The apprentices are officially employees of ScreenSkills who will recruit the apprentices, manage their induction and initial training, provide pastoral care and coordinate a series of placements with short further blocks of training through the duration of their apprenticeship schemes. These will last between 13 and 20 months depending on the role.
Announcing the new programme during National Apprenticeship Week, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “This country has a rich history of being a creative leader on the world stage, exporting talent and high-quality programming across the globe – and it is right that apprentices should lead the charge in delivering the skills needed to support our fantastic film and television industry.
“I am delighted to see the range of roles being made available to apprentices across the country and the new flexible apprenticeship will help sector leaders like ScreenSkills get the skilled workforce they need to continue to deliver excellence onto our screens, while giving learners the chance to work across a range of exciting projects and productions.”
Seetha Kumar, CEO ScreenSkills, said: “We are delighted to be working with major industry partners Prime Video, Sky with APX Content Ventures, Banijay UK and Lime Pictures to create opportunities for people who have found it difficult to get into the exciting world of film and television production. Our apprenticeships will address serious skills shortages – benefiting the UK’s booming screen industries while opening up pathways, providing training and support and helping people earn as they learn on high-profile shows,”
ScreenSkills is already conducting an apprenticeship pilot, supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with match funding from partners WarnerMedia and Netflix, which is the model for the new flexi-job apprenticeships announced by the Treasury last year.
Twenty apprentices – 10 broadcast production assistants and a further 10 assistant production accountants – were recruited and have been working since induction last summer.
Other work on apprenticeships includes a new junior animator apprenticeship, coordinated by ScreenSkills with support from the BFI awarding National Lottery funds. The first apprentices are due to start work on it this month. More than 1,400 people have taken up screen-related apprenticeships in the last year, the highest number of starts in the screen sector since the introduction of the new apprenticeship standards policy in 2014.