Lights, Camera, Action: Heathrow jobseekers supported into film industry

A thousand local jobseekers previously employed in the aviation industry at Heathrow airport  will be supported to transfer their skills into the UK’s world-renowned screen industries.

The training, delivered by the skills body ScreenSkills in partnership with Pinewood Studios and Buckinghamshire and Enterprise M3 LEPs (local enterprise partnerships) will see participants embark on a 13-week programme to learn how their expertise in aviation and its supply chain can be used in film, television and games.

Local Jobcentre Plus staff will identify 1,000 individuals to participate in an online introduction to the screen industries and receive support to identify their transferable skills.

The programme will be funded by the Department for Work and Pensions following a £150 million boost to the Flexible Support Fund as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey said: “This is a rare opportunity to join a world leading sector that has vacancies to fill in roles traditionally associated with Hollywood, and we are encouraging those who are interested to get in touch with their local jobcentre.

“Keeping people connected to the jobs market and transferring their skills is a key priority as we build back better – so it’s great to see our jobcentres working with local organisations to help jobseekers switch sectors.” 

A thousand workers will receive an online introduction to the screen industries and receive support in identifying their transferable skills. Those interested in pursuing a new career in screen will then apply for a series of online training events.

With all candidates set to benefit from online training, 25 will also get work shadowing placements at Pinewood Studios in Iver, Buckinghamshire.

With many taking voluntary severance at Heathrow and the possibility of further job losses, the scheme will help those living within travelling distance of Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, or its sister site, Shepperton Studios, Middlesex.

Last month Pinewood Group announced a new 750,000 sq ft development including an expansion of studio production space. More than £3.6 billion was spent on film and high-end television (costing £1million+ an hour to make) productions last year.

The training and placements will be tailored to the skills of those who come forward, including those from retail, digital and administrative roles as well as aviation staff.

Previous Skills to Screen events run by ScreenSkills have identified people with expertise in areas such as accounts, digital and logistics as well as craft and technical skills such as carpentry and constructions. All are in-demand skills in UK screen.

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “Transferable skills from aviation and the supply chain at Heathrow in areas including logistics, accounts and office roles could play an important role in addressing the needs of UK’s world-famous film, TV and games industries.  Despite the immediate challenges of Covid, the screen sector has skills shortages so there are jobs to be filled to meet strong consumer demand.”

Andrew M. Smith, Chair of Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Corporate Affairs Director at Pinewood Studios, said: “We are delighted to be backing this exciting initiative to support those affected by local job losses in the aviation sector. This new initiative will provide the opportunity to support many of those highly skilled workers to transfer their skills to our world-class screen industries based at Pinewood Studios and across this rapidly growing sector of the economy here in Buckinghamshire”.

Dave Axam, Chair of Enterprise M3 LEP said: “The Enterprise M3 area proudly boasts a thriving creative industry sector, from Shepperton Studios in Spelthorne, Longcross Studios in Runneymede, to the internationally renowned games cluster in Guildford and the highly successful Story Futures project within the immersive technology sector at Royal Holloway University.

“This is a great project which will identify transferable skills and provide people with the opportunity to potentially gain experience within a very exciting industry. The EM3 Recovery and Renewal Action Plan has identified this type of project as an important stepping stone for people who have been affected by the impact of Covid-19 and are looking for a new career.” 

Research conducted by ScreenSkills’ Skills Forecasting Service has highlighted skills shortages in a number of areas, from location managers to production accounts, with considerable concern from the industry at the impact they are having, including delays in crewing up.

PLEASE NOTE - all applications must be made through local Jobcentre Plus or through Heathrow employers.

For further information, please contact Louise Jury, ScreenSkills director of communications and marketing, on 020 7713 9883 on 07841 496636

Note to editors:

ScreenSkills is the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen industries - animation, film, games, television including children's TV and high-end drama, and VFX. We work across the whole of the country to ensure that UK screen has access now, and in the future, to the skills and talent needed for continued success. 

Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership is a business led Local Enterprise Partnership which promotes economic growth and prosperity across Buckinghamshire. Bucks is a significant wealth generator for the UK economy, and the commitment of over £73m in Local Growth Funds is unleashing ambition and creativity in the county. This funding is enabling the delivery of new road and rail infrastructure, better skills and business opportunities and enhancing digital connectivity to support sustainable economic growth in Bucks.

Enterprise M3 – EM3 - LEP is business-led and brings together the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in a joint endeavour to drive prosperity for the people and places in our region.

As a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), we receive funds from government and leverage additional private sector investment in order to make strategic investments to create, nurture and sustain the right conditions for economic growth in our area.

Pinewood Group is the leading provider of studio and related services to the global film and television industry. Pinewood Group has enabled storytellers to bring their creations to life on the big and small screen for over 80 years. Founded in 1936 and headquartered in the United Kingdom, Pinewood has helped create some of the most treasured productions, among them 167 Oscar winners, 228 BAFTA winners and numerous blockbuster film productions with budgets of over $100 million. In the past year alone, our UK-based studios have been home to many highly acclaimed productions such as Rocketman, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Dumbo, Mary Poppins Returns, Mary Queen of Scots, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and No Time To Die.

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