As the UK screen sector booms but faces a crisis in skills shortages in certain roles, the Department for Education is funding a grant scheme to recruit forty apprentices.
The roles to be filled are: production assistants, assistant production accountants, production coordinators and production managers, all of which are desperately needed in the current content-creation boom in the UK.
ScreenSkills, the skills body for the UK’s screen industries, is among national employers awarded a grant to run a flexi-job apprenticeship project, building on lessons learned from its apprenticeship pilot currently running with Netflix and WarnerMedia.
Prime Video is the lead partner in the programme - funding half the total places - working alongside Banijay UK, Lime Pictures and Sky with APX Content Ventures (a global practice within Publicis Media).
Recruitment will start this month with the ambition of having the first apprentices in place by May, with a second cohort starting in September. The industry partners are funding additional costs involved in enabling the programme to go ahead.
The aim of both the new and existing project is to develop and test an apprenticeship agency model to unlock apprenticeships for physical production in film and TV, as traditional apprenticeships do not work for many production roles which are typically freelance and involve shorter contracts. The new pilot will bring in a broader range of partners and enable more apprentices to take part across a wider range of roles.
The apprentices are officially employees of ScreenSkills, who will recruit the apprentices, manage their induction and initial training, provide pastoral care and coordinate a series of placements with short further blocks of training through the duration of their apprenticeship schemes. These will last between 13 and 20 months depending on the role.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Apprenticeships are a cornerstone of our Plan for Jobs, providing people with an excellent route into some of the best careers and contributing to a high-skill, high-productivity economy.
“I'm thrilled to see such exciting new opportunities being created in a wide range of industries thanks to our flexi-job apprenticeships - supporting more people to find the apprenticeship that is right for them.”
Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi remarked: “This country has a rich history of being a creative leader on the world stage, exporting talent and high-quality programming across the globe – and it is right that apprentices should lead the charge in delivering the skills needed to support our fantastic film and television industry.
“I am delighted to see the range of roles being made available to apprentices across the country and the new flexible apprenticeship will help sector leaders like ScreenSkills get the skilled workforce they need to continue to deliver excellence onto our screens, while giving learners the chance to work across a range of exciting projects and productions."
Seetha Kumar, CEO ScreenSkills, said: “We are delighted to be working with major industry partners Prime Video, Sky with APX Content Ventures, Banijay UK and Lime Pictures to create opportunities for people who have found it difficult to get into the exciting world of film and television production. Our apprenticeships will address serious skills shortages – benefiting the UK’s booming screen industries while opening up pathways, providing training and support and helping people earn as they learn on high-profile shows,”
ScreenSkills is already conducting an apprenticeship pilot, supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with match funding from partners WarnerMedia and Netflix, which is the model for the new flexi-job apprenticeships announced by the Treasury last year.