Our continuing professional development strategy

ScreenSkills is taking a strategic approach to the modernisation and professionalisation of learning and development within the screen sector. It has become clear that the continuing professional development of screen professionals is an area of critical importance for the ongoing success and global reputation of the industry in the UK.

Wild Rose © Fable Pictures

This strategy defines continuing professional development – or CPD - as an ongoing, planned learning and development process that contributes to work-based and personal development. It is the process that enables individuals to expand and fulfil their potential, ensuring the continued growth of confidence and competence in this rapidly developing industry.

In this strategy, a competency is defined as having the relevant skills, knowledge, understanding and attributes to do a specified job in a particular context to an agreed standard.

The strategy is relevant to the whole screen industry -including screen practitioners, managers and leaders -and encompasses learning at all levels. It reflects a development model which values and promotes recognition of a wide variety of approaches to continuing professional development and enables flexible career pathways.

With the challenges of Brexit, critical skills shortages and the need to respond to the rapid evolution of technology and changing audience habits, it is more important than ever before to recruit and retain a workforce who can guarantee continuity of skilled delivery during periods of change. Identifying and signposting appropriate continuing professional development for industry professionals is key to attracting and retaining talented practitioners and supporting and equipping them for the challenges -and delights -of working in this unpredictable and exciting industry.

The context:

The screen industries are a rapidly evolving sector in which consumers are constantly changing the way they interact with the moving image. New roles emerge continuously and established roles develop to meet the challenges driven by the modernisation agenda.

Continuing professional development in this sector is, and always has been, informal in its nature. People working in the screen industries are frequently required to develop new skills and ways of working – often without any structure or direction from industry itself. Freelancers are expected to navigate the choppy waters of a fragmented and unpredictable industry without guidance and employers cite a lack of high-quality, industry-relevant, continuing professional development (CPD) as a key barrier to enhancing their skills and those of their workforce.

The problem:

The screen industries are not accredited in the way many industries are (e.g. engineering, education and medicine and, in the creative industries, advertising and marketing). There is no requirement to pursue continuing professional development to guarantee skills are up to date and fit for purpose. In a sector driven by new technologies, sophisticated and demanding audiences and the challenges faced by the impact of Brexit, a change is required in the way the screen industry invests in growing and developing its workforce.

Continuing professional development is defined as learning undertaken by professionals to improve their skills once in work. It is this learning that underpins accreditation in accredited industries via a recognised investment in the workforce’s skillset. With CPD, the onus is on the individual to take personal responsibility for this learning and industry benefits when the individual returns to working life to use their new or improved skills.

The solution:

In response to research produced by the BFI and the Work Foundation’s Future Film Skills Action Plan, ScreenSkills has developed a continuing professional development (CPD) strategy and supporting framework. Its ambition is to:

  • introduce the concept of CPD as central to the continued success of the screen industries in the UKcommunicate and cultivate the notion of personal responsibility for CPD
  • educate practitioners and employers in the purpose and processes associated with accessing and applying CPD
  • introduce a CPD framework that structures, defines and aligns CPD to business needs
  • foster a culture in which practitioners and employers use the framework as a resource to identify skills gaps and development needs
  • create the expectation of high standards and continual improvement amongst employers leading to CPD becoming the norm rather than the exception

The CPD strategy outcomes are to:

  • ensure that the UK screen industry retains its position as the world leader in its field
  • professionalise and modernise the process of developing the workforce
  • improve competence and confidence in screen industry professionals
  • encourage freelancers to take personal responsibility for their continuing professional development
  • improve recruitment and retention

The strategy is targeted at:

  • screen industry professionals
  • providers of learning and development
  • people with responsibility for workforce development
  • senior and strategic leaders and policymakers

It is intended to support screen practitioners and employers to implement CPD by promoting:

  • a shared understanding of CPD within the current industry context
  • a model for developing a consistent and coherent approach to CPD (the framework)
  • systems and processes for implementing CPDexemplars for career pathways

The approach:

To achieve this ambition, the ScreenSkills CPD strategy proposes the following approach using a process comprised of five steps:

  1. CPD framework: to define and structure the competency areas required for best practice. To self-assess and plan professional and personal development. To map and plan CPD programmes and interventions.
  2. CPD process: to explain best practice in CPD planning and delivery for individuals and employers in the screen sector
  3. CPD commissioning: to commission high-quality CPD in the most in-demand areas required by industry which maps to the framework, assumes the process and can demonstrate impact
  4. Measuring impact: of high-quality CPD to demonstrate return on investment, potential outcomes of CPD and impact on the industry. Spell out expectations for the calibre of ScreenSkills’ CPD activities and the hallmarks of high-quality CPD.
  5. Accreditation of providers of high-quality CPD. To measure and recognise providers of effective, impactful CPD, who can demonstrate impact, conforms to the framework and fits the process.

The strategy applies to the individual who will use it to structure their own journey, to employers who will use the steps to support employees, and to training providers who will use them to understand what the expected outcomes of their CPD interventions are. These five steps are described in more detail in the subsequent sections of this strategy document.

What is CPD?

CPD includes any activity which increases knowledge, experience and understanding and thereby improves performance. The range of activities covers the whole spectrum of learning and can include on-the-job development, formal programmes and qualifications -through to informal opportunities and learning through experience. For CPD to have a real impact, it needs to be applied. Learning can be undertaken through a variety of approaches:

  • work-based learning through supervision and other opportunities such as e-learning, in-house courses, job-shadowing, secondment, mentoring, coaching
  • face to face learning experienced via commercially available training providers
  • qualifications required to meet national minimum standards
  • knowledge and skills sets in which practitioners learn from each other and together through informal and experiential learning which can include coaching, mentoring, work shadowing etc.
  • reflective thinking on planned and unplanned learning experiences

CPD can be used creatively to help people prepare for changes in existing roles, new opportunities or their next job and should demonstrate how learning is being applied throughout a career. Good employers are keen to ensure their workforce has a range of opportunities to grow and develop to meet the changing needs of the industry.

CPD development processes can be regarded as learning events in which individuals are encouraged to think about how to develop their skills and career. The ScreenSkills’ CPD process offers tools to support individuals to work with a mentor, supervisor, learning group or alone to help identify where their development needs are.

Why invest in CPD?

Investment in CPD is fundamental to meeting the agenda for modernisation and change within the screen industries. Diversity and inclusion, recruitment (particularly from underrepresented groups) and retention of skilled workers (particularly for returners to work) are priorities alongside the urgent need to stay up to date with innovations in technology. It is the role of central bodies such as ScreenSkills to identify the needs, opportunities and offerings that fulfil the former and exploit the latter. It is critical to both retain existing experienced screen industry practitioners and attract highly skilled professionals from other sectors to guarantee continued growth and high status for the UK screen industries within the global sector. Both are more likely to invest in a screen career if they have the chance to develop flexible and transferable skills and qualifications, are able to demonstrate their competence and are supported to progress in a direction which meets their needs and the needs of the industry.

Continuing professional development is driven by the learner and is their personal responsibility. The ambition is to achieve a scenario in which CPD is applied and regarded as the norm. This would require employers to consider evidence of CPD as a condition of employment. The screen industries in the UK largely consist of a self-employed workforce (50% according to the BFI and Work Foundation). Given that CPD is an alien concept to most screen industry practitioners, there is a pressing need to communicate how it works, how to identify and access appropriate activities and critically that continuing professional development is the practitioner’s personal responsibility. To support this process, ScreenSkills is bringing together a CPD strategy, framework and process for practitioners, employers and training providers with the aim of embedding a consistent approach to continuing professional development across the industry.

The challenges

It would be naïve not to acknowledge the tension that exists between the industry's need for a commitment to CPD to develop a workforce with a relevant and up to date skillset -and employers’ needs for efficiency and focus on output. This could (wherever appropriate)include blended learning which helps busy professionals fit CPD around their work commitments.

The benefits of CPD

The screen industries in the UK are committed to being inclusive, creative and dynamic with a shared set of values and behaviours. Being well trained and motivated is crucial to delivering agile and quality creative output that can adapt to rapidly changing technological advances and audience needs. Continuing professional development (CPD) is an essential part of delivering outcomes and priorities. It is an integral part of working life which benefits individuals, the industry and ultimately the audience.

Investment in continuing learning and development has a direct and positive impact on individuals, teams, employers and the quality of output. CPD develops and promotes confidence, creativity, flexibility, capability and performance. It guarantees delivery of high-quality responsive services to meet the needs of the industry.

This strategy aims to provide a comprehensive, sustainable approach to CPD based on current good practice that:

  • is grounded in the experience of industry professionals
  • is inclusive
  • improves skills by improving the quality and relevance of learning
  • meets the needs of the industry
  • addresses the learning needs of an increasingly diverse workforce, most of whom are working independently
  • empowers professionals to develop the skills and competencies to do their job
  • develops a confident, creative and flexible workforcecontributes to developing careers
  • prepares individuals for the future

Diversity and inclusion

ScreenSkills supports the principle of equal opportunities and is committed to a belief in the equal worth of all people, together with a recognition and appreciation of diversity. ScreenSkills opposes all forms of harassment, unlawful and unfair discrimination on grounds of sex, marital status, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation and the discrimination suffered by any and all other marginalised groups. Continuing professional development processes need to ensure that feedback from these groups is actively encouraged and actions to improve learning practices are taken as a result.

Step one: The CPD framework

The framework is central to the ScreenSkills’ CPD strategy. It is a structure that defines and aligns continuing professional development against the competencies associated with each career stage. The framework is central to successfully structuring theCPD learning journey. It also offers guidance on the appropriate CPD interventions required for career progression.

For individuals and employers: by following the processes explained here and using the framework as a reference point, it is possible to identify individual skills gaps.

For training providers: by using the framework and ScreenSkills' skills forecasting it will be clear what CPD is needed to fill the skills gaps and meet the competencies required for learners and industry to feel confident that their skills are fit for purpose.

The framework is structured using:

Four career stages:

  • Entry
  • Early
  • Experienced
  • Expert

Four core competencies:

  • Working with others
  • Financial and commercial awareness
  • Professional expertise
  • Personal development

Four core values:

  • Honesty
  • Inclusion
  • Respect
  • Excellence

How the career stages work

The career stages are accompanied by a career stage guide that cross-references experience against the career stage to support the self-identification process. Critically, the career stages are not linear or hierarchical. It is entirely possible to remain at a particular career stage and focus on becoming a subject matter expert without having reached the top of the hierarchical tree. Similarly, when changing direction and moving from being an expert to early stage in a new chosen field or after experiencing promotion, the appropriate CPD intervention may come from an earlier career stage than before the change in circumstances to support new learning and grow confidence. You can find the career stage guide here.

How the competencies support CPD

As a reminder, a competency is the set of skills which are crucial to a business for success. Each of the six competencies is applicable and relevant to every role in the value system. The selection of appropriate CPD activities are what make the framework bespoke for the individual. Associated with each competency are the learning outcomes the appropriate CPD must deliver to meet the competency as seen in this extract: once the appropriate career level has been identified, it can be cross-referenced on the framework to establish where the individual’s skills gaps are and what is needed to fill them in.

How the values and behaviours work

The framework is prefaced by a set of values and behaviours expected of screen professionals working in the UK screen industries. They are built on the core industry values of honesty, inclusion, respect and excellence-and demonstrate how CPD as a longterm process or journey can develop and instil these behaviours into the workforce to ensure they are understood and lived.

Step two: The CPD process

The process of continuing professional development develops and updates professional knowledge and skills. CPD may also be a requirement of membership of a professional body. Assessing development needs can help to:

  • uncover gaps in skills and capabilities
  • provide an overview of professional development to date
  • highlight achievements and progression
  • direct career and help focus on career goals
  • identify development needs
  • provide examples and scenarios for a CV or interview
  • demonstrate professional standing
  • help with career development or a possible career change

The ScreenSkills’ CPD process is built on blending a variety of learning approaches - from face-to-face learning alongside learning in the workplace (shadowing, mentoring, peer review, critical review), personal learning (TED Talks, podcasts, reading) and relational learning (mentoring, coaching, shadowing, action learning sets).

Continuing professional development does not necessarily mean going on a course – there are multiple approaches to continuing professional development that can be easily blended into professional working life with limited additional time or expense. Similarly, if a course is what is required or desired, knowing which competencies the course should support and the required learning outcomes, means the spend is efficient, applied and ultimately offers value for money.

The process associated with using the framework effectively, has three stages:


The continuing professional development journey is self-directed, although third-party advice can be helpful. When working in an organisation, there is often support for the provision, however, the onus is always with the individual. When making a start on assessing how CPDactivitiescan help identify personal and professional development, answering three simple questions will get the ball rolling. This can be done individually or with the support and intervention of a mentor.

1. Where am I now?
In the first instance, this is about assessing where you are in your career development and identifying which of the four levels within the CPD framework you are working at. It also offers an opportunity to review and reflect on any learning experiences over the previous year or past three months. Write your thoughts down about what you have learned, what insights it gave you, what you did well and what you might have done differently. Include both formal training events and informal learning, such as:

  • learning from colleagues or shared learning from networking
  • reading about new technologies, new methods of working, legislative changes
  • shadowing or assisting an experienced colleague
  • insights and learning points from coaching and mentoring
  • reflections, insights and learning points from taking on a new responsibilityorganisational or role change
  • temporary job swaps within the department/organisationdeputising or covering for colleagues
  • insights and lessons learned from mistakes
  • lessons learned from critical incidents or events

Make a note of any outcomes of each learning experience and what difference it has made to you, your colleagues or your employer or your work.

2. Where do I want to be?
Write down your overall career goals: where you want to be in one or three years’ time. Then write down no more than three specific, achievable shorter-term objectives, including the dates by which you want to achieve them.

3. What do I have to do to get there?
Looking at your overall career goals, make a note of what you need to do to achieve them. This could include further training, job or role progression or changes in direction. For shorter-term objectives, include the first step - what you can do today or tomorrow. For example, having a chat with your manager about a new responsibility or finding out about new technology from a colleague who has experience of it. Another useful tool to help support the CPD journey is to complete a SWOT analysis which can be done with a mentor, line manager or alone.

Planning and execution

The next step is to generate a personal development plan –this can be done alone or with a mentor or line manager. By cross-referencing the answers to the questions or SWOT analysis in the assessment exercise with the competencies in the framework, it is possible to work out what CPD activities are appropriate for personal and professional development. Find personal development plan resources here.

Horses for courses: choosing a learning approach
Successful personal and professional development is dependent on it being user-friendly and easy to apply. The range of learning approaches is vast, with activities covering the whole spectrum of learning from on-the-job development, formal programmes and qualifications to informal opportunities and learning through experience.

Blended learning means that the CPD process takes many different forms and fits into working life as easily as possible e.g.a development activity might involve face-to-face learning in a classroom environment, but it could also be listing to a podcast or watching a webinar. It might involve shadowing a colleague at work or joining an action learning set (a group of people who learn by sharing their knowledge with each other). It may be as simple as reading a book or watching a TED talk.

Applied means that for the development to ‘stick’, it needs to be quickly applied in the work environment. This means that the activity should only be undertaken when there are opportunities to use the learning –otherwise the risk is that it will be forgotten.

The choice and combination of methods will be influenced by:

  • Those which will occur or are planned to occur in the workplace anyway, such as supervision or meetings
  • The time available for learning
  • The resources available for learning
  • Learning needs identified in an individual’s personal development plan
  • Organisational and team learning priorities, based on a business plan
  • Individual learning styles

Many of the work-based learning activities listed above can be provided in the workplace by having a more structured approach to and understanding of CPD and using day-to-day opportunities more effectively for action learning. This will make the most of activities people are already engaged with, for example by discussing what they have observed and learnt from a particular situation or experience and how they would do it better next time. Regular supervision and constructive feedback on performance are critical to increasing self-awareness and enhancing the learning experience. Points-based structured CPD system one way to measure progress in personal and professional development over time could be by using a points-based system. This is an ambitious undertaking given the current industry understanding of the value of CPD, but it is a useful structure for reference because it indicates the value of different learning approaches. Limitations may be placed on overall points scored for any learning event, to ensure that the annual development activities cannot be achieved through a single set of activities alone. However, achieving a relevant qualification for a job role could contribute all CPD activity for a year.

The target for an individual’s development for the year is at least a hundred points. However, this could be adjusted in discussion with a line manager or mentor to take account of stages of career development, nature of job role and so on. The points assigned in the table above are intended to illustrate how the system could work. They may be adapted for a particular context by adding activity or changing the weightings and point allocations. The table could also be used to provide an annual summary of CPD activities and be kept up to date in a learning log.


There are two useful outcomes to recording development activities. The first is that recording the nature of the intervention requires reflection, which helps cement the learning. The second is that having a portfolio of evidence of learning and development demonstrates to future employers that the appropriate skills to do the job have been accrued. It also demonstrates a commitment to personal and professional development. The CPD learning journey can be recorded in different ways, such as via a learning log. Find learning log templates here.

If an employer is supporting the professional development journey, they will need to provide the following:

  • a commitment from the top to supporting continuing professional development
  • a CPD framework linked to industry and business priorities
  • an appraisal system linked to personal development planning
  • access to appropriate learning provision, qualifications and assessment
  • career pathways with clear progression routes

Step three: Commissioning

While personal and professional development is the responsibility of the individual, employers have a big part to play in identifying skills gaps, supporting the workforce to treat their personal and professional development as a priority and feeding into the skills forecasting research we engage the industry in on a regular basis.

Skills forecasting is only as good as the intelligence it receives from the industry. ScreenSkills runs quarterly barometer surveys and annual workplace surveys to gauge industry needs, which in turn inform the CPD commissioning strategy for the year ahead. For example, the barometer survey may reveal a lack of leadership skills across the industry. The framework clearly indicates what good leadership looks like at all levels and this helps inform training providers what is expected of the development activities they are designing.

Training providers can use the framework to identify which deliverables their courses are expected to realise in order to receive funding.ScreenSkills will continue to commission high-quality learning and development activities from training providers from across the UK who can demonstrate the following:

  • a track record in designing and delivering learning and training with a high level of industry engagement
  • a commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • a commitment to tracking beneficiary destination data

Activities that support continuing professional development will be commissioned in four distinct areas:

  1. Skills shortages as evidenced by ScreenSkills’ quarterly barometer and annual workplace surveys and validated by ScreenSkills’ industry lead CPD Working Group
  2. Hard-to-recruit job roles as evidenced by ScreenSkills’ quarterly barometer and annual workplace surveys and validated by ScreenSkills’ industry lead CPD Working Group
  3. Targeted diversity and inclusion initiatives informed by ScreenSkills skills forecasting
  4. “Train the trainer” programmes, to support CPD providers and trainers in improving the educational quality and industry-relevance of their delivery: In 2019-20 as part of our quality and impact guidance and accreditation work, we will plan and commission a range of "Train the trainer” programmes, to support CPD providers and trainers in improving the educational quality and industry-relevance of their delivery. We expect these to entail short, practical training courses and guidance documentation on how providers can develop their own training provision and management to be able to measure and fulfil ScreenSkills' quality criteria.

CPD commissioning for the financial year 2019/20 took place in the first half of 2019. Check the ScreenSkills training courses directory for current opportunities for training.

Step four: Measuring and impact

Measuring the quality and impact of CPD is essential to understand its efficacy and the return on investment of industry and public money, as well as to demonstrate its more immediate value to individuals and employers. As part of its CPD strategy, ScreenSkills will develop and introduce CPD quality and impact guidance (QIG), a standard methodology and process to measure the outcomes and impact of CPD delivered within the screen sectors.

We intend to use the QIG to measure the quality, impact and efficacy of CPD commissioned by ScreenSkills and of courses seeking ScreenSkills accreditation (see section five). In the long term we hope that the guidance will be used across the sector in the following ways:

  • by ScreenSkills and its delivery partners to demonstrate the quality and impact of our own publicly funded and commercial CPD courses (see section three above)
  • by third-party training partners across the sector to demonstrate the quality and impact of their commercially funded CPD courses
  • by employers and individuals when seeking CPD courses, as a way to judge the value of different available CPD options to their personal and organisational development

We anticipate that the QIG will propose a standardised methodology and process to capture evidence such as:

  • quality assurance and improvement strategy for course content and delivery
  • demonstrable pedagogical and industry input into course design and delivery
  • co-development or bespoke design of course content to suit the precise needs of employers or clients
  • simple certification or record of course completionsuitable availability of courses, whether online or in-person
  • clear, consistent description of key information about courses, such as target learners, eligibility, learning outcomes
  • participation volumes, especially for target demographics, such as subsectors, regions, equality, diversity and inclusion groups
  • immediate quality measures for delegates regarding venue, facilities and presenters
  • immediate expected impact measures for relevance and likely impact on professional practice
  • longer-term impact measures for effect on practice, performance, colleagues and employer

Six months to a year after the launch of the QIG, we expect to publicise benchmarks for CPD against some or all of the criteria, where appropriate. This will be available for CPD providers touse as part of their publicity to demonstrate the recognised impact of their courses.

Step five: Accreditation of training

In addition to the CPD quality and impact guidance, ScreenSkills will develop an accreditation process for CPD providers that will help identify providers of effective, impactful and high-quality CPD courses. ScreenSkills already and industry-endorsed quality-mark scheme for higher education (HE) courses which deliver “work-ready” graduates. A similar service is being piloted for further education (FE) courses and apprenticeships.

We recognise that CPD courses differ fundamentally from full-and part-time HE and FE qualifications. They require an accreditation process that considers the shorter duration and (sometimes) shelf life of the courses, and the smaller size of the businesses delivering the training. The CPD accreditation process will aim to provide a nationally-recognised benchmark that recognises similar quality and impact criteria as highlighted in section four, assessing and verifying either individual courses and/or overall provision.

Alongside defining the accreditation process, we will explain how courses and providers can publicise their accredited courses. Once developed, ScreenSkills will provide wider publicity, regional events and “train-the-trainer” programmes for CPD providers (see section three) to trainers learn more about the process and how they can develop their provision to gain this nationally-recognised benchmark.

Model for implementing the CPD strategy

ScreenSkills is committed to an integrated approach to implementing its CPD strategy. This approach recognises that a number of different elements need to come together for successful implementation. The ScreenSkills CPD framework will be user-friendly and clearly identify the learning required to fulfil competencies at each career level. The framework will be used to determine development commissioning in areas of industry need by cross-referencing the ScreenSkills Quarterly Barometer and employer surveys.