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£20m fund to ensure the future of filmmaking

The British film industry has united behind a plan to ensure the future of the sector in the UK.

The £20m BFI National Lottery funding will be used to help train the next generation of filmmakers.

It comes as a new report shows that 10,000 new starters are needed over the next 5 years to ensure its existence.

“The UK film industry is one of our biggest success stories and the films made here are loved by audiences around the world. For this to continue we need to nurture and foster the next generation of talent – both in front of, and behind the camera. The 10 point skills plan being launched today will be instrumental in helping to deliver this, as well as making sure that the films in the UK are truly representative of the UK’s diverse society,” said Karen Bradley, Culture Secretary.

The sector is worth £4.3bn to the UK economy and is the country’s fastest growing sector. It currently employs 66k people, more than 70% of which are employed in film and video production.

However, based on these growth rates, Future Film Skills has identified multiple skills gaps across the sector – such as production department, art department, construction, electrical, camera, costume, hair and make-Up, post-production, and VFX.

Its 10 Point Action Plan addresses both skills shortages and diversity. The new report shows that the film workforce comprises 12% from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds; 5% with a disability; and black, Asian and minority ethnic groups represent just 3% of the production and post-production workforce. Women make up 40% of the workforce and earn on average £3,000 less than male counterparts.

The £20m funding will be used over the next 5 years for a “skills drive” and support the Future Film Skills 10 Point Action Plan. This industry-led initiative is chaired by Barbara Broccoli and includes BFI CEO Amanda Nevill.

“We live in a diverse society and it is vital both culturally and commercially that our industry reflects this in front of and behind the camera. With industry, education and government uniting behind this new Film Skills Strategy and 10 Point Action Plan we know we will be able to increase the number of people working in film and ensure we have a representative workforce,” explained Broccoli, producer, Eon Productions.

The 10 Point Action Plan

1. A trusted and reliable careers information service

A single, trusted online destination for anybody seeking information to start or progress a career in the industry. Offering links, networks and information for training and jobs in film throughout the UK, building on and linking to sites such as Into Film, HIIVE and BAFTA Guru.

2. An accreditation system to guarantee employer confidence

Developed by the industry for the industry, in partnership with higher education, to win the confidence of parents, learners and employers, this will build on the achievements of existing work and will involve industry and employers in setting up the scheme.

3. A suite of new Apprenticeship Standards

Complete and deliver a new Apprenticeship Standard which will be applied to courses for a range of job roles throughout the industry including production, distribution and exhibition.

4. A Skills Forecasting Service

A responsive skills forecasting and planning service to respond to industry needs, and to ensure the regular supply of data across the sector on future skills opportunities.

5. Embed the BFI Film Academy into the skills pipeline

Develop the BFI Film Academy to work closely with industry, placing set-ready alumni as trainees on film productions across the UK.

6. A mentoring service to break down barriers for new entrants and returnees

A new personal mentoring programme that offers bespoke support for individuals wanting to enter or progress in the film industry, and those returning after a career break. Including mentoring, pastoral care, coaching and opportunities to network, and awareness of specific job opportunities.

7. World-class Centres of Excellence for screen-related craft and technical skills

Working with higher education and the new Institute of Technology to create a small number of world class Centres of Excellence for screen-related craft and technical skills.

8. A new bursary programme to ensure wide participation

A new bursary programme designed to support individuals taking their first steps, and removing some of the practical obstacles to those currently under-represented in the industry.

9. Professional development courses to maintain world-class skills

A new range of professional development courses, aligned with the latest technology and business skills will ensure our workforce maintains world-class skills.

10.  Mobilise the industry

Encourage the industry to support the future workforce through a number of schemes and campaigns including creating a database to match individuals with local needs, and which recognises enlightened employers who encourage skills transfer.

This skills strategy is supported by companies including, Lucasfilm, which has set up a pilot programme with the BFI placing 28 paid trainees working in craft and technical roles across the untitled Han Solo Project, currently in production at Pinewood Studios.

75% of the trainees are women, 45% come from BAME backgrounds, 68% were recruited outside Greater London, and 36% received free school meals.

“This initiative is meaningful for both Lucasfilm and the film industry at large,” explained Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.

“Diversity is just as important behind the scenes as it is on the screen. More points of view, more perspectives, and more voices will only make films better.”

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