Renamed ScreenSkills focuses on new ecosystem

Creative Skillset has adopted a new name, ScreenSkills, to more clearly reflect its aim to help build a diverse skilled workforce across 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.

The move was welcomed by West Midlands Screen Bureau senior project manager Michael Gubbins: “This move recognises the need for change with an eye on the opportunities that are emerging in the Creative Screen Sector. It very much fits in with our agenda in building a sustainable sector in the region.”

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.

ScreenSkills has also launched a new initiative, which aims to offer 1,400 people training to help fill skills shortages in the UK film industry and to increase diversity and inclusion.

ScreenSkills received applications from training providers worth £2.4 million for the £600,000 available in a new round of programmes that range from new entrants and early stage career to management and executives.

The skills drive is being supported by National Lottery funds awarded to ScreenSkills by the BFI to deliver its Future Film Skills programme and by receipts from films that have contributed to the Film Skills Fund, commonly known as the film levy.

Many of the awards will tackle skills shortage areas, previously identified in the BFI’s Future Film Skills research and in consultation with industry, including location managers, script supervisors, production accounts and draughts people.

All the programmes are required to meet or exceed diversity targets in the participants they recruit. This is in line with the BFI Diversity Standards and is part of the concerted effort to create equality of opportunity for women, disabled people and those from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds and from disadvantaged backgrounds across all jobs and grades.

A range of initiatives are targeted specifically at creating a more inclusive workforce, with 11 of the 25 awards going to programmes to increase diversity and inclusion in the industry.

Gareth Ellis-Unwin, ScreenSkills Head of Film, said: “This round of funding responds to industry demands – in addressing skills gaps and in making determined efforts to diversify the industry.

“By the time we next commission training, we will have the initial findings of our new Skills Forecasting Service to make sure we are keeping on top of trends as they develop. But we know that the production boom is creating pressures across the system so in addition to the support we receive from the BFI awarding National Lottery funds, it remains massively important that industry pays into the Film Skills Fund.”  

The new Skills Forecasting Service being launched by ScreenSkills this autumn will gather data to offer a more forensic understanding of industry demands in future.

For this funding round, ScreenSkills invited training providers to design, manage, market, recruit and deliver inclusive training programmes in four areas:

  • New entrants.

  • People returning to work after a career break or transferring from another sector or industry.

  • Film professionals in priority areas from such as art directing, locations, accountancy and VFX.

  • Developing management and film executives.

This round of funding was for training to be delivered this financial year (by the end of March). The next round of funding will open in April 2019.