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ScreenSkills earmarks $13m for training to address UK skills shortage

UK industry training body ScreenSkills has pulled together more than £10m (US$13m) in contributions that will go towards the training needs of the booming screen sector.

Christine Healy

The ScreenSkills High-End TV Skills Fund will invest £10.1m in 2022/23 to support individuals in advancing their careers, filling shortage grades and developing their professional skills.

It marks an increase on the £6.7m that was invested in this financial year, which supported 1,400 individuals.

Drawn from UK producers, broadcasters’ in-house productions and inward investors, the extra investment means initiatives such as Trainee Finder and Make a Move will be given a funding boost.

There will be a continued focus on ensuring access to training and opportunities across the UK, including the introduction of industry working groups in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It comes as recent research funded by the High-End TV Skills Fund found 86% of survey participants considered skills shortages were serious or very serious, compared with 72% a year earlier.

It found the period of catch-up following the lockdown of the industry due to Covid-19, combined with the continued and increasing inward investment from the US, notably from SVoDs, were the main market forces driving demand.

Areas identified as facing shortages for the first time include assets clearance, sound, carpentry and construction, VFX, post-production supervision and coordination, make-up and dailies and digital imaging.

Christine Healy, chair of the ScreenSkills High-End TV Skills Council and chief operating officer of Watford & Essex, said: “It is fantastic news that thanks to continued strong industry support and investment, we will be able to expand existing programmes with proven track records of success and add new ones to make sure productions have the people they need at all levels and give the training, support and career development opportunities to our freelance community.”

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