The ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund is to invest more than £10 million of industry contributions from UK producers, broadcaster in-house productions and inward investors in training in the coming year.
ScreenSkills said the investment of £10.1 million in 2022-23 will be a considerable increase in spending from £6.7 million this financial year which has supported training for 1,400 individuals.
Its flagship programme Trainee Finder with paid placements for new entrants will be increased from 120 places to more than 200 including the addition of a new cohort of at least six trainees in virtual production.
Make a Move, which funds stepping up opportunities for crew on productions, will be almost doubled in capacity from £1.1 million to £2 million to ensure it continues to support the significant increase in anticipated productions shooting in the UK in 2022/23.
As part of the drive to ensure freelancer retention in the industry and improve work/life balance, the HETV job share programme will also be significantly expanded to support more flexible working for up to 40 job-sharers.
In addition, training in leadership and management and anti-bullying and harrassment will continue to be available to every shooting HETV production team.
The HETV industry working groups, which are led by many independent heads of production are meeting this month to finalise grade shortage specific investment for the coming year, with a focus on developing mid-level crew and building capacity in the UK-wide workforce.
The boost to investment has just been ratified by the High-end TV Skills Council and will be targeted at meeting skills needed identified in the of the new annual HETV-specific research, released this week. It found that 86% of survey participants considered skills shortages were serious or very serious compared with 72% a year earlier.
The High-end Television in the UK 2021/22 workforce research said the period of catch-up following the lockdown of industry due to Covid-19 combined with the continued and increasing US inward investment, notably from SVODs, were the main market forces driving demand.
Roles identified as facing shortages for the first time include assets clearance, the sound department, carpentry and construction, VFX, post-production supervisor and coordinator, make-up artists and dailies and digital imaging technician (DIT).
Christine Healy, chair of the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Council and COO 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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