Industry training body Creative Skillset has changed its name to ScreenSkills in a bid to more clearly reflect its work in “delivering a skilled workforce for 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 for greater industry collaboration in finding new talent and growing existing talent “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.
“There needs to be greater investment in skills and training if the UK is to maintain its global reputation in screen. Other countries are investing in training and upskilling their workforces in the creative industries and we cannot afford to rest on our historic reputation.”
Seetha Kumar, Chief Executive of ScreenSkills, said: “We are asking our colleagues in the industry to help us move skills up the agenda and secure the talent pipeline. We need to invest more, in time and in money, if we are going to seize the huge opportunities for growth.
“We have a strong infrastructure of studios and production facilities with more coming on tap. As capacity is ramped up, we must make sure we have the skilled workforce to keep UK production buoyant. We also want everyone of talent, whatever their background, to have the opportunity to join the industry, progress in it and help further current success.”
ScreenSkills’ Giving Back ‘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.
Various industry figures have backed the new initiative.
Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of ITV, said: “Harnessing creative talents in all the nations and regions is important if we are to enable television and film, along with other parts of the creative industries, to reach their full potential. We should all back the work being done by ScreenSkills to build capacity outside London and the South East and to create opportunities for a more diverse range of young people to enter and progress in the industry.”
Josh Berger, President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, said: “The UK’s position as a global production powerhouse depends on our ability to attract, support and train the best talent from all backgrounds. ScreenSkills is a key partner to us and many across the film, games and TV industries, as we all work together to ensure a diverse pipeline of highly-skilled professionals working at every level.”
Barbara Broccoli, producer, EON Productions, said: “One of the greatest strengths of the British film industry is the talent of our workforce. I encourage everyone in the industry to continue to work with ScreenSkills in developing new recruits from diverse backgrounds.”
Paul W M Golding, Chairman and interim CEO, Pinewood Group, said: “Pinewood is expanding and investing heavily in infrastructure. Such investment must go hand-in-hand with the development and training of crews if the UK is to maintain its reputation as a great place to make both films and high-end television. We fully support ScreenSkills’ plans and welcome the start of an important conversation about what we all need to do to boost recruitment into the industry and to ensure we have the skills needed to respond to the growing demand."
Daisy Goodwin, writer, television producer and new ScreenSkills patron, said: “The thing I love about working on TV is that you are surrounded by a phalanx of highly trained people who all know exactly what they are doing. It’s a really democratic business and I am supporting ScreenSkills because I want young people to realise how many opportunities there are and what a great business it is to be in.”
Lord Hall, Director-General of the BBC, said: “The BBC has always been a key supporter of Creative Skillset, now ScreenSkills. I’ve seen first-hand the great work they do to bring the industry together and champion training and skills. We will continue to work closely together to open up opportunities for all.”
Alex Hope, Managing Director, Double Negative, said: “Over the last decade, the UK has become a global centre for VFX (visual effects). Everybody in the industry recognises that it needs to ensure we have enough people available, with the right skills, to build on that success. ScreenSkills is taking the lead in getting to grips with this, but it is critical that all of us in the VFX industry, both as companies and individuals, play our part in these efforts. ScreenSkills needs industry support if it is to deliver the talent pipeline we need.”
Alex Mahon, Chief Executive of Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 has inclusion and diversity at its heart and shares these principles with ScreenSkills. Making sure the industry is open to all and that talent is developed across all the UK is essential for a vibrant and dynamic industry so we are proud to support the important work that ScreenSkills does.”
Julie Parmenter, CEO, Molinare, said: “The UK is recognised as a centre of excellence for the creative industries including film and TV. More productions than ever are choosing London for their post. In order to ensure we meet the increasing demand whilst retaining the exceptional quality, we need to invest in the next generation of talent. ScreenSkills is a vital partner is helping us to achieve our goals. It is important that our industry is accessible to everyone and we need the training and support in place to do this and ensure we find the most talented people regardless of background.”
ScreenSkills is backed by the BFI with National Lottery funds awarded as part of the Future Film Skills programme as well as with funds from broadcasters, Arts Council England and industry contributions to the skills funds (commonly known as the levies).
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