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‘The industry is at a tipping point’: World Skills Café to address media’s skills gap

Carrie Wootten talks to TVBEurope about a new initiative aiming to understand what skills shortages exist within the media tech industry, whether that be in current technologies or new ones that have yet to come to the fore

The recently launched Global Media and Entertainment Manifesto will host a special event for skills, diversity and education at IBC 2024.

The World Skills Café is set to take place from 2-5pm on Thursday 12th September at RAI Amsterdam, followed by a drinks reception.

The event aims is to bring together broadcasters, streaming brands, technology vendors, outside broadcast (OB) companies, studios, diversity leaders, recruiters and education representatives to drive discussions in collaborative workshops and panels throughout the afternoon.

The skills shortage in engineering and technical roles and the lack of diversity across the industry have been discussed for a number of years now. These issues are often mentioned on panels or in keynote speeches at events across the globe, but at no point has there been a dedicated forum to bring the global community together to discuss skills shortages (and nothing else!), break down which levels of seniority the skills shortages are at, and discuss how we are going to work collectively to address the issue,” Carrie Wootten, co-founder of The Global Media and Entertainment Manifesto tells TVBEurope.

“In combination, there has also not been a global forum to tie the skills conversation into discussions around the severe lack of diversity across the industry — these two issues are heavily interlinked. The World Skills Café will be a unique opportunity to focus on these issues in one dedicated afternoon of interactive sessions, workshops and presentations, all of which ties neatly into IBC 2024.”

The Café will analyse the current skills shortage and take a look at issues such as which roles are being most impacted and at what levels of seniority, and how the industry can collectively address these shortages and ensure diversity is embedded within its work. It will also discuss the skills the industry is likely to need in the future, and how that new workforce will receive the necessary education and training.

“Education is vital to progressing this work, whether through collaboration with schools, colleges, and universities or by enhancing current industry training and reskilling opportunities for industry professionals,” says Wootten

Following the Café a live ‘Manifesto’ document will be produced that can be viewed at any point through 2024 and 2025. It will highlight the discussions from the World Skills Café and include the commitments made by companies and individuals at the session, which will then be reviewed at IBC 2025. “We will be keeping people accountable!” states Wootten.

There are multiple ways that the industry can get involved in the Café, from being in the room on 12th September to providing sponsorship. For anyone who can’t make the event in person, there is an option on the registration page to show interest.

“Now, more than ever, the industry is at a tipping point and it is imperative that we understand what skills shortages exist, so we can be prepared for the continued innovations that are happening across the industry, whether this is in AI or cloud or a new technology that has not yet come to the fore,” continues Wootten. “This is not a competitor issue, it is a global issue that impacts every company within the media technology landscape. 

“It is also essential that we build a global heatmap of where the skills shortages are. Until we have this detailed understanding of the issues, we will not know which steps to take to move us forward as a sector, nor will we be able to collaborate as effectively as possible and work collectively to address them.”

More details about the World Skills Café are available here.