Six out of 13 new post-production technical operator apprenticeships are to be funded by Amazon Prime Video.

The post-production technical operator training is part of a UK Screen Alliance apprentices programme. Over the next 12 months apprentices will receive 9 weeks of off-the-job training at London South Bank University (LSBU), as well as on-the-job experience with post production employers, including Company 3, Directors Cut Films, Dock10, Timeline Television, Splice Post, Clear Cut Pictures, Molinare, Roundtable Post, The Look, and Wild Brain.

Through a deal brokered by UK Screen Alliance, six of the apprentices are being financed by Amazon Prime Video.  Amazon is donating over £50,000 of their own UK apprenticeship levy to cover the training and assessment costs. The companies hosting the apprentices are doing so through a combination of 100% funding and apprenticeship levy transfer.

Georgia Brown, Head of European Originals, Amazon Studios said, “We’re delighted to be supporting this apprenticeships scheme. It’s essential that we all protect and preserve the pipeline of talent within our industry to ensure we continue to make best-in-class television in the UK. We’re excited to work with the UK Screen Alliance and others to fund more apprenticeship opportunities across the screen sector in the coming months. We wish all apprentices the best of luck for their training and hope to see them working on an Amazon Original Series in the not-too-distant future.”

The Post Production Technical Operator apprenticeship was created by a group of leading employers, led by Rowan Bray, MD of Clear Cut and Neil Hatton, CEO of UK Screen Alliance. It is fully accredited by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and leads to a level 4 qualification, equivalent to an HNC.

Rowan Bray, Managing Director, Clear Cut Pictures said, “The Apprenticeship delivers much-needed technical training tailored to the post production community. Employers are driving this scheme, to meet a known skills shortage, with tangible benefits for the whole sector. Amazon’s farsighted investment in developing these skills will benefit the wider production community.”

Whilst most companies are using this apprenticeship to upskill runners into technical roles, those taking on new recruits as apprentices currently qualify for an additional £3,000 government incentive payment.

Thomas Urbye, MD of The Look said, “We were delighted to hear about and support this specialised apprenticeship course, which allowed us to fast-track a new employee to join our technical team. The combination of on-the-job training and coursework with LSBU is mutually beneficial to the company and the apprentice.”

This is the second cohort of Post Production apprentices moving through this programme. The original cohort of 9 apprentices, who started on the programme 12 months ago, are soon to go through their end-point assessment. The pandemic caused a change of plan in the way the training was delivered, but industry stalwart trainer Pat Horridge and LSBU course leader Ben Mallaby converted the course materials and lectures to be delivered online. This remote delivery has opened up the opportunity for regional post houses to send apprentices on the new course.

Brian Hardman, Head of Post Production Operations at Dock 10 in Manchester said,  “We are delighted that our team can benefit from participating in this valuable training opportunity. As a regional facility, we especially appreciate the efforts of LSBU to tailor the delivery to be more remote based – and as such make it much more accessible and practicable. We look forward to repeating this participation in future cohorts”

UK Screen Alliance are already seeking expressions of interest in a possible third cohort of apprentices to run in the summer, which Prime Video will also support and will fund smaller employers’ training costs via levy transfers. The UK Screen Alliance is encouraging any non-levy paying companies to consider using the levy transfer scheme to receive funding from Prime Video to cover the costs of future apprenticeship training.

Neil Hatton, UK Screen Alliance CEO, is enthusiastic about the prospects for apprenticeships in the sector. “Two years ago there were only two specialist apprenticeship standards in our sector, but now we have created ten covering a wide range of occupations, with more to come. It’s great that Amazon are investing in the skills base of their supply chain businesses and we look forward to working with them again to fund more high quality apprenticeships.”

Jon Creamer