BFI Launch Future Film Skills Initiative with £20m Investment

It was announced at the UK’s House of Commons this evening that the British Film Institute will lead an initiative that will aim to ensure that the country stays up to speed with its competitors by finding 10,000 new industry professionals within the next 5 years and a total of 30,000 jobs overall.

Future Film Skills – An Action Plan is “not a ‘nice to have’ but [is] an ‘urgent must’ if we are to achieve the growth potential for UK film that is in front of us”, according to BFI CEO Amanda Nevill, speaking at the launch of the initiative this evening (Wednesday 28th June 2017).

Future Film Skills will provide an initial investment of £20m via the National Lottery in an attempt to “demystify getting into the film industry for young people with easy to access career advice and guidance on the right courses”, “provide bursaries and support services enabling people from all backgrounds to get into the film industry”, “open doors for those with appropriate skills (from carpenters to digital creatives) to move into the film industry” and will “set up specific schemes to encourage industry practitioners to share their knowledge and expertise”. The initiative will focus a lot of its efforts on “underrepresented groups” in an attempt to diversify the industry.

The official 10 point action plan is as follows:

1. A trusted and reliable careers information service

A single, trusted online destination for anybody seeking information to start or progress a career in the industry. Offering links, networks and information for training and jobs in film throughout the UK, building on and linking to sites such as Into Film, HIIVE and BAFTA Guru.

2. An accreditation system to guarantee employer confidence

Developed by the industry for the industry, in partnership with higher education, to win the confidence of parents, learners and employers, this will build on the achievements of existing work and will involve industry and employers in setting up the scheme.

3. A suite of new Apprenticeship Standards

We will complete and deliver a new Apprenticeship Standard which will be applied to courses for a range of job roles throughout the industry including production, distribution and exhibition.

4. A Skills Forecasting Service

A responsive skills forecasting and planning service to respond to industry needs, and to ensure the regular supply of data across the sector on future skills opportunities.

5. Embed the BFI Film Academy into the skills pipeline

We will develop the success of the BFI Film Academy to work closely with industry, placing set-ready alumni as trainees on film productions across the UK.

6. A mentoring service to break down barriers for new entrants and returnees

A new personal mentoring programme that offers bespoke support for individuals wanting to enter or progress in the film industry, and those returning after a career break. Including mentoring, pastoral care, coaching and opportunities to network, and awareness of specific job opportunities.

7. World-class Centres of Excellence for screen-related craft and technical skills

Working with higher education and the new Institute of Technology we will partner to create a small number of world class Centres of Excellence for screen-related craft and technical skills.

8. A new bursary programme to ensure wide participation

A new bursary programme designed to support individuals taking their first steps, and removing some of the practical obstacles to those currently under-represented in the industry.

9. Professional development courses to maintain world-class skills

A new range of professional development courses, aligned with the latest technology and business skills will ensure our workforce maintains world-class skills.

10.  Mobilise the industry

We will encourage the industry to support the future workforce through a number of schemes and campaigns including creating a database to match individuals with local needs, and which recognises enlightened employers who encourage skills transfer.

The initiative is supported by LucasFilm, who recently pioneered a pilot programme that placed 28 trainees on the set of their new Han Solo movie in a variety of paid craft and technical roles.

LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy issued the following statement:

“This initiative is meaningful for both Lucasfilm and the film industry at large. Diversity is just as important behind the scenes as it is on the screen. More points of view, more perspectives, and more voices will only make films better.”

The United Kingdom’s Culture Secretary Karen Bradley also spoke on the matter:

“The UK film industry is one of our biggest success stories and the films made here are loved by audiences around the world. For this to continue we need to nurture and foster the next generation of talent – both in front of, and behind the camera. The 10 point skills plan being launched today will be instrumental in helping to deliver this, as well as making sure that the films in the UK are truly representative of the UK’s diverse society.”

The film industry is currently the fastest growing industry in the UK and is worth approximately £4.3billion to the economy each year, yet representation remains an issue in the industry itself with only 12% of professionals being from less-advantaged socio-economic backgrounds, 5% considering themselves to have a disability and 3% representing ethnic minorities. While the representation of women is far more promising at 40%, they remain underpaid, with salaries averaging out at £3,000p/a less than their male counterparts.

This initiative, and the creation of a Head of Diversity role in April, will aim to bring more representation to underrepresented groups by 2022.

For full details on Future Film Skills – An Action Plan, please visit the British Film Institute website.

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