Exclusive: ScreenSkills steps up funding in response to Covid survey

The survey also looks at the new role of the Covid-19 H&S supervisor

By Nia Daniels 13 Aug 2020

Exclusive: ScreenSkills steps up funding in response to Covid survey
Peaky Blinders via BBC

ScreenSkills, the UK industry-led skills body for the screen industries, has published the results of its ‘What can we do to help? Employer and hirer survey’, launched in June to explore how employers, their staff, freelancers and crew can work safely during Covid-19, and has announced further investment in training in response. 

The survey includes an insight into the work of a Covid-19 H&S Supervisor, a new role that came about through the BFC’s extensive guidance report that has become the keystone for production to resume. 

ScreenSkills’ response to the survey includes additional investment plans for more in-depth training, consolidating the free online coronavirus basic awareness course – in which around 15,000 people have achieved a pass rate - that the organisation launched earlier in the summer. 

The survey found that 54% of respondents were more inclined to assign Covid-related responsibilities to an existing member staff than to a separate role within production. 

Just under a quarter (24%) said they were more likely to appoint a new member of staff for the job of Covid-19 H&S supervisor.

This throws up the idea that a dedicated Covid-19 supervisor may not necessarily be the best option. 

Concerns highlighted in the findings included: specific training in areas such as safe costume and make-up fittings, how to clean equipment or use personal protective equipment and implementing Covid-19 guidelines on a limited budget.

In response, ScreenSkills is opening a tendering process to provide training designed to offer key figures in production the extra knowledge designed to ensure compliance with the law and best practice. 

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “It felt important to better understand current industry demand so that we can target resources most effectively in current circumstances. We will develop more in-depth training on Covid-19 for those who need it while offering other support, such as ensuring the good mental health of the workforce.”

Even more detailed training to cover the range of responsibilities identified with the Covid-19 supervisor role will also be provided, with funding from the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds.

In order to meet pressing industry demands for extra support, a decision may be taken to provide interim support from training-providers already offering health and safety advice, depending on the expressions of interest received.

The High-End TV Skills Fund is already running mental health training to support HETV managers support their returning teams who may have added anxiety due to Covid concerns. 

Sex Education image: Sam Taylor/Netflix.


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