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18/07/2013

Creative Skillset: Investing In The Future Of TV And Film

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Talent is the lifeblood of the TV and film industries – and key to our world-class reputation for innovation and quality. Creative Skillset highlights how keeping skills up to date is essential to the industry's future success...

To exploit the technological and business opportunities in a working environment that is constantly evolving, training remains a priority for the film and TV industries.
With freelancers and SMEs making up so much of the Creative Industries workforce, having a training line in the budget is not always possible. In recognition of this, Creative Skillset works closely with partners to invest in courses, as well as providing industry professionals with up to 80% of the cost of training through its TV and film funds.
Market intelligence gained via research and consultation with industry experts informs Creative Skillset's priorities in tackling skills gaps through investment in training. In the last month, more than £800,000 UK-wide funds were released for film and TV to invest in training within priority areas; including sound, production management, data wrangling, directing, VFX and craft and technical skills.
Dan Simmons, Creative Skillset's Head of Film, explains: "Our priorities include supporting both new entrants to break into the industry, and existing professionals to further develop their careers. We seek to nurture talent and encourage diversity."
In addition to this investment in schemes and courses available throughout the UK, Creative Skillset also targets investment at the needs of the industries in specific parts of the UK. The Skills for the Digital Economy Programme does just that by developing and delivering training for creative media professionals in West Wales, the Valleys and North West Wales. This industry-led initiative, backed by investment from Creative Skillset Cymru, the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, S4C and TAC has just released a further £500,000 investment to boost creative skills in the coming months.
Since its launch in 2011, over 400 individuals have benefited from the Skills for the Digital Economy Programme, including Anne Gallagher, a freelancer from Porthcawl. In response to an increasing demand for multimedia content, Anne attended a seven month Cyfle training scheme to develop her practical skills in producing online and multiplatform projects for her clients.
After completing the course, Anne landed her first big producer credit, managing a crew of 20 people to produce 30 hours of live broadcast streaming and eight highlight packages online for Boardmasters 2012 in Cornwall. "I think the project management skills I learnt will stay with me for the rest of my career," she explains. "I went into the commission knowing that I had the confidence and the skills to do it and that's all down to the course.
"I wouldn't have been able to do the commission as comfortably or to the standard I achieved without the course."
Anne has no doubt that courses such as this one are vital: "The last two years have been really tough in the industry and there are a lot of changes with the growth of the digital arena," she says. "If we didn't have access to courses like this, we would be left behind."
Anne is not alone in feeling the benefits of training; in a recent Creative Skillset survey of film and TV funding recipients, 98% of respondents indicated that attendance on their course had increased their confidence in work and 96% felt it had made them more employable.
By working collectively on skills development, the TV and film industries are able to address common issues and lever additional Government investment.
As announced recently, over the next two years HM Treasury will match fund up to £16m industry investment in Creative Skillset's new Skills Investment Fund, leading to a total of £32m to address skills gaps and shortages in the film, high-end TV, VFX, animation and computer games sectors.
Dan Simmons explains: "We are working with both the TV and film sectors to identify priority skills areas and establish schemes to address these issues, but what is clear is that with investment in training, we will secure a stronger and brighter future for our industries."
Creative Skillset funding for training is currently open for film and TV professionals across the UK, and for organisations to develop high quality courses in key priority areas.

Read the article in the online edition of Regional Film & Video here.
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