Creative Skillset to deliver BFI's Future Film Skills programme

Creative Skillset will deliver the majority of the BFI’s Future Film Skills Programme, a key strategic priority of BFI2022, the five-year plan for UK film.

God's Own Country 2017
  • £19 million of National Lottery funding to Creative Skillset following a competitive call for applications, overseen by a panel of industry leaders, chaired by Barbara Broccoli
  • Partnership endorses Creative Skillset’s focus on screen-based creative industries

The BFI and Creative Skillset today announce that the UK’s industry skills body Creative Skillset will deliver the majority of the BFI’s Future Film Skills Programme, a key strategic priority of BFI2022, the five-year plan for UK film. The award endorses Creative Skillset’s recent shift to concentrate entirely on skills across the UK’s screen-based creative industries. As part of this re-focus, Creative Skillset has new industry leadership including a newly appointed Chair, Richard Johnston, who is also CEO of Endemol Shine in the UK and a council member of PACT. 

The decision to award £19 million of National Lottery funding to Creative Skillset followed a competitive call for applications, overseen by a panel of industry leaders, chaired by Barbara Broccoli. The panel was unanimous in its decision to appoint Creative Skillset and was impressed by its clear commitment to deliver a high quality and strategic new skills framework to create a trusted ladder of opportunity for all individuals to easily enter the UK’s booming screen industries.

Creative Industries Minister Matt Hancock said: “I'm delighted Creative Skillset has been chosen to receive National Lottery funding to help the next generation of creative talent develop the skills they need for careers in areas including film, television and video games. Our creative industries are one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors, worth £92 billion to the economy every year, and we are determined to make sure this fantastic success continues.”

Barbara Broccoli, Producer, EON Productions and Chair of the UK Film Skills Task Force said: “This plan represents a huge opportunity to help create a workforce that reflects our diverse society, and increase the number of people working in film to meet the needs of our thriving production industry. I’m confident that Creative Skillset with the support of industry, education and government, will be the most effective way of delivering this ambitious plan.”

Richard Johnston, Creative Skillset Chair and CEO of Endemol Shine: “Creative Skillset has significantly changed its operational model in the past year to focus on where we can deliver the best value – working in close partnership with the screen-based industries. I’m delighted that the BFI has shown its confidence in our changed role by awarding us the contract to deliver its Future Film Skills Programme.”

Amanda Nevill, CEO BFI said: “I am really excited about the energy behind this strategy, and the solid commitment and new approach from Creative Skillset, because I believe this programme is going to create opportunities for a new wave of individuals to find their way into careers within this extraordinary and booming industry.”

Seetha Kumar, CEO of Creative Skillset said: “This is an ambitious programme to deliver the step change in skills and talent training set out by the BFI. By creating an industry-run programme which has the confidence and trust of everybody – whether they’re thinking about a career in the screen industries or at the top of their game – we will create the joined-up, professionalised, inclusive workforce that we need to stay globally competitive.”

This is a UK-wide programme which will work across the nations and regions to provide opportunities for people at all stages of their career, no matter where they live. Key elements will include an industry endorsed careers service, accredited training courses, fast-tracked apprenticeship standards, and working in partnership with existing education establishments and studios to develop industry-led specialist centres for technical and craft skills in key locations across the UK.

The Future Film Skills Programme was launched by the BFI and the Film Sector Task Force in June 2017 at the House of Commons and identified the need for 10,000 more people working in film, and to provide training for an estimated 30,000 jobs over the next five years. At the heart of the strategy is an industry-led commitment to ensure the workforce is representative and inclusive, with a proactive approach to ensure that opportunities exist for everyone.

As workers increasingly move between the screen industries, the Programme will help grow productivity within the UK’s screen industries as a whole and support the growth of screen-based clusters – by expanding the pool of skilled people and expanding the UK’s production capacity – a key priority  in the Government’s strategy for the digital and creative economy.

The UK film industry contributes around £4.6 billion to the economy annually and is the UK’s fastest growing sector, currently employing 66,000 people. The UK is home to some of the world’s leading film production houses and facilities, with a global reputation for creativity, innovation and technical and craft excellence.  VFX and animation, in particular, have seen a rapid growth in the workforce and over 70% of the total workforce are employed in film and video production.  

Creative Skillset’s practitioner-led Programme, delivered by high-quality providers with industry background and experience, will provide skills training to enable 10,000 individuals to progress their careers into – and up through – the industry. It will include comprehensive careers advice and guidance, accredited vocational and apprenticeship standards, all the way through to continuing professional development for those in senior level roles such as Heads of Department and Executives. The Programme will ensure a strong pipeline of creative talent from the widest range of backgrounds across the UK, enabling productions to draw from a more inclusive talent pool. In particular, individuals from diverse backgrounds who previously may not have been able to gain access to the industry will be able to contribute their talent and experience.

Key to the successful delivery of the programme will be effective partnerships and Creative Skillset is committed to co-ordinating a unified approach and working with organisations that bring complementary skills and expertise such as the NFTS, Into Film, BAFTA, the British Film Commission, BECTU, the major broadcasters, trade guilds and industry bodies such as the Film Distributors’ Association. Creative Skillset will create a network of partnerships through the nations and regions via bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPS) and national screen organisations. 

It is anticipated this investment will leverage match funding from the industry’s own Skills Investment Fund and fund the backbone of the industry-owned and industry-led Future Film Skills 10 Point Action Plan.

A survey of practitioners across the industry, carried out by The Work Foundation for the BFI, identified multiple skills gaps across the sector including key areas such as Production Department, Art Department, Construction, Electrical, Camera, Costume, Hair and Make-Up, Post-Production, and Visual Effects. The BFI’s Future Film Skills 10 Point Action Plan (PDF) draws upon this research to address skills shortages and the lack of inclusion in the screen industries.

Creative Skillset’s comprehensive, industry-led skills training Programme will deliver the key points in the Future Film Skills programme, underpinned by the goal of a more inclusive and representative workforce, through:

Careers Service

  • A dynamic industry-endorsed online careers service providing comprehensive and consistent information on job roles and career paths in the screen industries


  • An industry-led and endorsed accreditation system providing quality assurance across Higher Education (HE), Further Education (FE) and work-based learning

Apprenticeships and Technical Training

  • Industry-designed and endorsed apprenticeship standards and vocational qualifications

Skills Forecasting

  • A responsive skills assessment and forecasting system which provides comprehensive UK-wide data on screen industry skills, including current and emerging skills gaps

Centres of Excellence

  • Centres of Excellence across the nations and regions providing relevant, targeted local support to enable the BFI’s strategy of backing screen clusters across the UK


  • A UK-wide mentoring service for individuals who want to enter, or progress in, the screen industry – with an emphasis on those from under-represented groups, including parents and carers returning after a career break

Continuing Professional Development

  • A new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modular framework, developed in partnership with industry, delivering industry recognised credentials in areas of priority need

Bursary Fund

  • A targeted fund to help remove some of the practical barriers to entry into the industry, participation in skills development and related career progression

The Future Film Skills Programme was developed as a result of a wide industry consultation led by the BFI with the Film Skills Industry Task Force, chaired by Barbara Broccoli and including BFI CEO Amanda Nevill, Creative Skillset CEO Seetha Kumar, Chair of the Film Skills Council Iain Smith, Double Negative MD Alex Hope, Ben Roberts, Director BFI Film Fund and producers Marc Samuelson, Fiona McGuire, Callum McDougall, Faiza Hosenie and Damian Jones. The Work Foundation was commissioned to look at the current and future needs of film in recognition of the potential and current economic growth of the film industry, which continues to outperform other sectors considered to be booming, including construction, financial services, and information and communications.

Future Film Skills provides a scale-able blueprint for the creative sector, with the UK creative industries currently accounting for 1 in 11 jobs, a rate that is rising faster than all other parts of the economy.

Multi-award winning producer Iain Smith OBE, Chair of the British Film Commission and Chair of Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Council said: “Major studios base their productions in the UK because they value the high skills capability of the British industry and the training and education of our workers. The BFI’s skills audit demonstrates how now, more than ever, our industry needs a strong, independent body to lead the drive for skills.”

Alex Hope OBE, MD and Co-founder of the multi-award-winning Double Negative Ltd, one of the world's largest film VFX companies, and Creative Skillset Board member said:  "British VFX companies, along with the wider screen industries, are world-beaters and an export growth sector. Skills development and job training are invaluable in developing talent within our business; this Programme will ensure, by focusing on new technological developments alongside existing skills requirements, that we are set for continued growth in the future.”

Creative Skillset Press Contacts

 BFI Press contacts

About Creative Skillset

Creative Skillset works with the UK’s screen-based creative industries to develop skills and talent, from classroom to boardroom. We support high-quality professional development across TV, film and related sectors – identifying skills needs, targeting skills investment, developing key skills and growing diverse talent networks. Through our industry partnerships, Creative Skillset helps to improve productivity, creativity and employability across the UK’s screen-based creative media industries.

About the BFI

The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

  • Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and world cinema
  • Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
  • Championing emerging and world class filmmakers in the UK – investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
  • Promoting British film and talent to the world 
  • Growing the next generation of filmmakers and audiences

The BFI is a Government arms-length body and distributor of Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role:

  • As the UK-wide organisation for film, a charity core funded by Government
  • By providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK
  • By working with partners to advance the position of film in the UK.

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger.

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