New research highlights training barriers HETV crew face

More training on the job and a greater focus on peer-to-peer support could be the way to tackle some of the main career progression worries that high-end TV professionals have, new research concluded.

On set of Safe © Ben Blackall, Red Productions 2018

More training on the job and a greater focus on peer-to-peer support could be the way to tackle some of the main career progression worries of high-end TV professionals, new research concluded.

The research project ‘What’s Stopping You?’, commissioned by the high-end TV craft and Tech working group, aimed to gain a greater understanding of what barriers mid-level craft and tech crew face when accessing training. It also sought to establish what kind of practical support professionals trying to upskill would find valuable. To answer these questions production manager Cara McVean visited high-end TV sets around the country and held one-to-one interviews with crew members.

This research confirms some challenges that we were already aware of and shows the need to think of more creative approaches to help crew train and upskill.

Kaye Elliott, Director of high-end TV at ScreenSkills

She found that the need for skills development is acknowledged by most production companies, but not always acted upon. Conversations with professionals pointed out that there is a strong desire for more on-the-job training and that learning from peers is valued highly. Many crew members also believe that more formal training, shadowing and mentoring schemes would be beneficial across the workforce, but that tighter budgets make it difficult for departments to facilitate this. 

Other key findings of the research are:

  • Of the 78 candidates interviewed, 73% cited long working hours as their least favourite part, or one of their least favourite parts, of their jobs
  • 37% of interviewees said that the varied nature of the work is the best part, or one of the best parts, of the job
  • Other positive points mentioned regarding why they work in the industry include: creativity, the people, travel, cross-departmental collaboration, job satisfaction, challenges, flexibility, and as one crew member described: “the freedom of the freelance lifestyle means you can have significant time off between jobs
  • Members of most departments said they would welcome training in finance for freelancers. Additionally, they would like more guidance on “how to be a business” when trying to get a next job, as one make-up and hair supervisor said. 

Kaye Elliott, Director of High-end TV, said: “This research confirms some challenges that we were already aware of and shows the need to think of more creative approaches to help crew train and upskill. We are currently finalising best practice guidance on mentoring and are investing in bursaries to help crew attend training courses. We will continue to work to help professionals at all stages of their career and research findings like these are really valuable in helping us set out how to best achieve that.”

ScreenSkills is committed to creating greater awareness of the support that is available for professionals, such as the Skills Passport (the online resource that provides details of industry approved training for craft and tech and production grades), Make a Move (a step up funding scheme for any crew grade to enable them to move into a more senior role with support from the production team) and available bursaries.


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