Creative Skillset to deliver BFI's Future Film Skills Programme

The BFI and Creative Skillset [now known as ScreenSkills] have announced 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. 

£19 million of National Lottery funding will be awarded to Creative Skillset following a competitive call for applications, overseen by a panel of industry leaders, chaired by Barbara Broccoli.

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.

This is an ambitious programme to deliver the step change in skills and talent training set out by the BFI.

Seetha Kumar, CEO of Creative Skillset

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 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

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.” 

Read the full press release.

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