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THE FILM industry has now invested over £1 million into training through the Skills Investment Fund (SIF).
A total of 60 productions based in the UK or in receipt of UK public funding have contributed 0.5 per cent of their budget, up to a ceiling of £39,500, into this industry initiative to invest in the skills development, and therefore the future, of the British film industry. The only other industries to operate such a successful fund in the UK are construction and engineering.
Danny Boyle’s new film ‘28 Days Later’ was the film whose contribution took the fund to over £1 million.
Dinah Caine, Chief Executive of Skillset, said: “The SIF is about the UK film industry taking responsibility for investing in its future and the people within it. £1 million is a landmark figure, showing that the industry is serious about the SIF and we are already starting to see the benefits – thank you to everyone who has supported the fund so far”
Launched in October 1999, the SIF is an industry initiative, managed by Skillset and monitored by Government – contributions made to the fund are used to address four industry identified priorities: New entrants in craft, technical and production grades, training for production accountants, Health & Safety training for all grades and qualifying the industry.
One of the key benefits of the SIF is that the combined contributions from productions provides the spending power to not only build on existing industry courses or schemes but to set up brand new initiatives, benefiting the industry in a concrete and lasting way.
The first ten SIF funded production and technical new entrants started their programme with FT2, the freelance training providers, in January 2001 with a further 13 starting this month. The trainees undertake an intensive two-year programme consisting of placements on production and short courses. They work alongside experienced members of crew and are also assessed ‘on the job’ for the relevant Skillset Professional Qualification. SIF funding to FT2 is matched by European Social Funding and Channel Four.
The SIF has also been instrumental in the establishment of Assistant Production Accountant Scheme in partnership with The Production Guild of Great Britain, match funded by the South East Development Agency (SEEDA). This scheme is running alongside subsidised places on short courses for up to 300 freelance production accountants and assistants.
Skillset are also establishing a web-based network for trainee level crew in the UK film industry in Autumn 2001 providing industry specific information and links with experienced producers looking to crew up for production. The SIF Trainee Network aims to identify, with the help of the Regional Training Consortia and other regional film agencies, 100 committed and talented individuals who are available for training and work.
Another new development is the Health & Safety Bursary Scheme, in partnership with Skillset’s Freelance Training Fund, to provide freelances with funds towards cost of short course training alongside a web based Health & Safety portal on Skillset’s website to provide comprehensive information about recognised courses throughout the UK and guidelines of industry requirements. (CD)
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