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UK screen sector collaborates on new Skills Task Force

The new initiative, backed by Bectu, is being developed to address skills development across the creative industries

The UK’s media and entertainment union, Bectu, has announced its support for a new Skills Task Force which has been set up by stakeholders from across the UK film and TV sector, which will focus on long-term skills development and sustainable growth across the industry.

The Task Force is made up of 28 UK organisations and was created in response to the 2022 BFI Skills Review, which identified some of the most critical issues facing the sector, and ways in which both government and industry can address them.

“The skills shortage has long been a critical issue in the creative industries, with many highly trained creatives leaving the sector during the pandemic in search of more secure work elsewhere,” said Philippa Childs, head of Bectu. “Against a backdrop of rapid growth in post pandemic production, skills shortages across the sector have only continued. The feast or famine nature of the industry – whereby there may be an abundance of work one minute and none the next – has created an incredibly difficult environment to work in. Unsustainable working practices ranging from long and unsociable hours and challenging working conditions, have merely exacerbated the issue and led to many skilled freelancers considering their future in the industry.

“The recent SAG-AFTRA and WGA industrial dispute in the US, and the AMPTP’s reluctance to negotiate a fair deal, contributed to a slowdown of production work in the UK, with a Bectu survey revealing that 80 per cent of respondents had their employment directly impacted and highlighted the precarious nature of the industry. Bectu welcomes the development of the Skills Task Force to tackle the issues highlighted by the 2022 BFI Skills Review and notably the importance of improving equality and diversity. This is an exciting opportunity, so it is essential that the industry comes together to work in partnership with the workforce and their trade unions, to establish healthier working practices, create long lasting change and safeguard the future of the sector and its workforce.”

Chaired by creative executive Georgia Brown, the task force has devised a new approach to skills advancement, aligned to the Creative Sector Vision and its target of £50 billion growth in the creative industries by 2030. Its new report proposes strengthening strategy and partnership, supporting sustainable growth and sustainable careers, and putting work-based training at the heart of skills development.