ScreenSkills, Netflix and WarnerMedia have begun their pilot programme for apprenticeships in the UK’s screen industries with a diverse cohort of 20 new apprentices.

The ScreenSkills apprenticeship pilot will see 10 apprentices train as broadcast production assistants and a further 10 as assistant production accountants across the slates of Netflix and WarnerMedia.

Supported by the Department for Education, this pilot is in the “vanguard” of Government’s new flexi-job approach to apprenticeships.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport contributed £100,000 towards the pilot, which was devised to explore how to deliver the benefits of an apprenticeship in the screen – and the wider creative – industries, where work is project-based and contracts typically shorter than the minimum 12 months required.

Chosen from 1,600 applications, the 20 successful ScreenSkills apprentices range from school leavers to career changers from areas across the country including Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Portsmouth, and London and the South East.

There is strong representation from groups currently under-represented in the sector including women, those with a disability and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said: “This diverse and talented cohort of young individuals will gain invaluable industry experience exploring the different productions Netflix and WarnerMedia have to offer. It was a privilege to meet the apprentices, and I look forward to watching this fantastic pilot progress over the year ahead.”

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to gain the skills you need to succeed in a huge range of exciting industries, enabling people to get the experience they need to progress in the job they want.

“The ScreenSkills pilot will open doors for a diverse talent pool in the UK’s world-leading creative sector, in roles from accountancy to film and TV production, levelling up chances for people to experience the life-changing opportunities an apprenticeship can bring.”

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “We are delighted to welcome this enthusiastic and diverse group of apprentices into the industry and look forward to working with WarnerMedia and Netflix to provide them with the most excellent of starts to their screen careers.

“There is huge potential for addressing pressing skills needs and building a more inclusive workforce if the screen industries can utilise Apprenticeship Levy contributions for high quality training, so the lessons learned from this pilot will be invaluable.”

Kevin Trehy, Managing Director, Warner Bros. Pictures London and Executive Vice President, Physical Production, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, said: “Our long-established partnership with ScreenSkills is invaluable, as are the unprecedented opportunities availed through this pilot programme. It’s incredibly exciting to be supporting this group of apprentices as they embark on careers in the entertainment industry.”

Alison Small, UK Grow Creative manager, Netflix, said: “We’re delighted to support ScreenSkills apprenticeship pilot as part of our wider work to ensure the next generation of talent are given opportunities to work in one of the UK’s most dynamic industries.

“One of our key priorities over the next 5 years is to help bridge the skills gap, upskill the UK creative community, improve diversity head-on and spread opportunity right across the UK to help keep our industry growing at the incredible pace we’ve seen over the last few years.”

The 20 apprentices met today as a group for the first time at Picturehouse Central in London to run through practical considerations including transport to studios, re-location and accommodation options prior to starting their initial three-week training in August. Placements on productions start a month later.

The induction, which concluded with a tour of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter at Leavesden, Watford, coincides with the Government’s launch this week of a new £7 million fund to support the creation of new flexible apprenticeship opportunities for sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles including the creative industries, digital, construction and agriculture.

Accountants and production assistants were chosen for the ScreenSkills pilot as they are areas of skills needs and there are high-quality apprenticeship standards already approved for use by the Government. More standards to meet a further range of skills needs are in development.

Jon Creamer

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