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BFI: UK production training sector needs £104 million investment a year and another 21,000 employees

The BFI calling for the industry to invest at least 1 per cent of all production budgets in training existing and future workforce

A new report from the BFI is calling for an urgent review of investment in training for the UK’s TV and film production sector.

It is calling for the industry to invest at least 1 per cent of all production budgets in training existing and future workforce. This would bring it in line with levels of investment in training made by other industries, such as construction, said the BFI.

The UK’s huge success as a global production centre, alongside current studio developments set to increase its capacity to host more, puts a significant strain on the workforce, added the report. It cited ScreenSkills’ recent forecast that the industry needs between 15,130 and 20,770 additional crew needed to meet demand, who would require an overall training investment of over £104 million a year; a figure which is approximately 1.4 per cent of the projected level of production spending in 2025.

As well as a significant increase in financial investment industry collaboration and ownership of crew development – at all career stages – is needed to get the right people at the right time, added the BFI.

“While it is right that this activity is driven by industry, this requires input and engagement from all stakeholders interested in developing a skilled workforce and appropriate coordination to ensure their voices are heard,” it added.

The report also stated that there is a lack of awareness of the breadth of job roles in the screen industry, and progression pathways can be unclear. It is calling on the industry to continue to support efforts to improve careers advice across schools and in higher and further education. “Career-changers from other sectors and new entrants would also benefit from clear, comprehensive information to aid their career choices into production,” added the report.

Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive, said: “This report has dug into one of the most critical challenges facing the production sector and puts us, with government and industry, on a roadmap to address a range of fundamental issues that sit at the core.

“The review also gives us the evidence to support a workplace reset, which is long overdue. If we can get this right, as well as investing in our crew and capitalising on the opportunity presented by our industry’s growth, we can accelerate creating a workforce that genuinely reflects our society. As we do that we must also urgently address negative working practices and cultures, including the long hours routinely expected of crew,” he added.