Prime Video has announced Prime Video Pathway, a new training initiative designed to open up access to jobs in the TV and film industry across the UK.

Committing to spend £10M across three years, Prime Video is partnering with the National Film & Television School (NFTS) to open up access to careers in film and television as part of a new academy programme.

The academy will build to having places for 75 people per year who will be offered the chance to apply for a variety of craft and technical roles on Prime Video commissioned productions in the UK. Prime Video today also committed to fund and co-programme two courses designed to support the entry of new diverse voices into TV and film production, as it becomes a key partner of the School.

Opening soon for applications for prospective candidates from across the UK, the academy programme will offer up roles across physical production including production, art department, locations, camera, sound, and accounting. Upon completion of the programme, Prime Video, the NFTS, and production heads of department will work with the participants to plan and support their next steps into the industry, with the aim that trainees will be put forward to work on other productions. Integral to the academy is the School’s commitment to investing in training across the UK, with at least 50% of participants coming from outside of London.

In addition, Prime Video has committed to supporting two training courses to be delivered by the NFTS. The first is the Prime Video Directors Workshop, which is a 12-month course and designed specifically to increase the number of people from underrepresented groups working in screen directing. The course takes the form of intensive training in narrative filmmaking, with each student creating a short film by the end of the course. The NFTS ran a Diverse Directors Workshop in 2017 and 2019, receiving approximately 400 applications each year for the six available places. Six students will be taken on the Prime Video Directors Workshop, starting in May 2022, as they seek to emulate the success of previous students like John Ogunmuyiwa, whose short film Mandem was nominated at the 2020 British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs).

Prime Video becomes co-sponsor of the NFTS’ Post Production Supervision Certificate, a course designed to give a grounding in the fundamentals key to effective post production management. Prime Video will fund an additional intake of students to start in September 2022,  doubling the number of young people able to take the course. NFTS’ inaugural intake on this course finished in July 2021, with a graduate employment rate of 100%, as participants were fast-tracked into industry roles including on Prime Video commissioned productions Anansi Boys and My Policeman.

“The UK is home to an extraordinary wealth of creative talent, and as our home-grown productions grow, we need to support a sustainable and diverse talent pool with world-class training, and a new creative generation for the industry,” said Dan Grabiner, head of UK Originals, Amazon Studios. “We are delighted to be committing £10M towards that goal today, and thank the NFTS and colleagues across the TV and film industry for their support in helping us fulfil our ambitious goals. To those considering a career in the creative industries: we want to hear from you!”

“The NFTS is synonymous with developing the world’s best creative talent through our world class training. We are thrilled to work with Prime Video on this landmark collaboration, which will increase representation behind the camera and scale up the skills required by the many original productions coming down the track,” added Jon Wardle, director of the National Film and Television School. “A new generation will be offered life-changing opportunities to join the UK’s production juggernaut and we look forward to a raft of new trainees and students from across the country joining us for the exciting ride ahead!”

“The UK’s thriving film and TV industries offer fascinating job opportunities and it’s great to see this new initiative launch to help more young people from a variety of backgrounds get a foot in the door,” said Minister for the Creative Industries, Julia Lopez. “I encourage all those with the passion and aptitude to unleash their creative talent and apply.”

“I am delighted to see Prime Video widening access to training and development in the UK’s exceptional TV and film industry through the power of apprenticeships,” said Minister for Skills, Alex Burghart. “Our new flexi-job apprenticeships are creating exciting new opportunities in a wide range of industries, including via ScreenSkills’ scheme in partnership with Prime Video, for people to secure a great career.”

The £10M also includes a commitment to build a stepping-up scheme into all future Amazon Original UK productions. It also includes Prime Video’s increased commitment to apprenticeships, with more than 30 apprenticeship roles now open including content producers, broadcast assistants and marketing executives as part of Amazon UK’s 2022 expansion of its apprenticeship programme. Prime Video is also the lead partner on ScreenSkills’ recently announced flexi-job apprenticeship project, funding half of the 40 apprentices to be recruited and in place later this year in industry roles as production assistants, assistant production accountants, production coordinators, and production managers.

The announcement follows Prime Video’s first long-term commitment to studio space in the UK through its deal with Pinewood Group to take production facilities at Shepperton Studios as production ramps up across the UK with 2022 and 2023 seeing the largest number of UK Original series launching to date. These include The Devil’s Hour, a six-part thriller series produced by Hartswood Films starring Jessica Raine and Peter Capaldi; Jungle, a grime and drill music drama series from first-time TV producers Nothing Lost; The Rig, Wild Mercury’s six-part epic thriller series starring Martin Compston and Emily Hampshire; and Mammals, a six-part comedy-drama series written by Jez Butterworth and starring James Corden and Sally Hawkins. Further training and skills schemes within the Prime Video Pathway programme will be announced later this year.

Jon Creamer

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