The internet – and internet companies – are forcing broadcasters and broadcast suppliers to “up their game” and attract the “Adobe generation” of new workers with the software skills necessary, as broadcasting transitions into more IP-based workflows and systems.
So said Niall Duffy, founder and CEO of Mediasmiths, a technology systems integrator for digital media.
“In many ways broadcasting had been a rather cosy and complacent world,” he told the session ‘Urgently Seeking Fresh Talent & New Skills: Has Television Lost its Appeal to the Next Generation’. “Now, particularly advertising-supported broadcasters have to think of their content as assets that have to sweat. That is a completely different type of mindset that requires completely different skills.”
Duffy calls the people that the industry needs to attract now “the Adobe generation” or those who have more software and IT skills rather than simply traditional engineering and hardware skills.
Andy Tennant, ITV’s controller of technology, production and facilities believes that the industry needs engineers with a “breadth of skills” to handle both legacy systems and new software proficiencies. He made the case for “the convergent engineer” who can be “both operators [of studios] and engineers of new content management models.”
The panel was very concerned about how to attract younger people to an industry in transition and there was a lively discussion about whether it is the university’s job or the employer’s job to train people, the latter being traditionally what was the standard in the UK where the BBC offered apprenticeships.
With tighter budgets, the universities are filling some of the gap left by less on-the-job apprenticeships, but Steve Warner, training manager for the IABM said that – taking Ravensbourne and Salford universities out of the equation – there were not enough appropriate courses available. While Naomi Climer, vice president Sony Europe (pictured), said that “workplace coaching” should be encouraged, Constanze Buchheim, founder and i-potentials in Germany, said that a “new model” was needed for attracting and training. She said that young people today want something more dynamic and suited to the work environment that they see ahead, one where technology businesses and business practices almost on a daily basis.
“Fifteen years ago the schools decided what the courses were, today the students say what they want and they are sometimes already running their own startup companies, so the current answers [to training and education] don’t fit,” said Buchheim. “We need a new model.”