ScreenSkills pushing for flexible Apprenticeship Levy

ScreenSkills CEO Seetha Kumar argued for flexibilities to the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy and explained current action on diversity and inclusion when she gave evidence to the House of Lords.

ScreenSkills CEO Seetha Kumar argued for flexibilities to the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy and explained current action on diversity and inclusion when she gave evidence to the House of Lords.

Speaking to the Communications Committee which is investigating public service broadcasting in the age of video on demand, Seetha explained that the huge growth in areas such as high-end television came at the same time as the Government withdrew public funding for skills and introduced a public policy intervention – the Apprenticeship Levy – which does not work well for the screen industries.

Research conducted for ScreenSkills shows evidence that the boom has created significant skills shortages. The consequences include people stepping up into more senior roles too soon which can affect delivery and increase the need for more leadership and management training.

The ScreenSkills experience is that the key solution is to create clearer routes into the industry and support screen professionals to progress their careers with, for example, mentoring and bursaries. Programmes we run – supported by industry contributions to ScreenSkills Skills Funds and by the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds – are helping to develop and retain more diverse talent.

You can watch this week’s committee hearing, which also included evidence from Sir Lenny Henry, here. ScreenSkills evidence has also been used in recent parliamentary debates. Read more here

Tracy Brabin MP has also submitted a question to the Education Secretary asking whether he has made an assessment of ScreenSkills’ proposals to reform the Apprenticeship Levy to increase the number of paid apprenticeships in the film and television industry and to enable apprenticeship training agencies (ATAs) to employ apprentices and arrange training on shorter-term projects – a proposal we believe is more likely to enable take-up of apprenticeships in the industry.

Responding to a question from Ed Vaizey MP about ScreenSkills’ Find Your Future in Film and TV campaign, Margot James, Minister for Digital and Creative Industries, said: “The Government recognises the importance of a strong and diverse talent pipeline to the continuing success of film and HETV in the UK and pleased to see ScreenSkills leading the way with its new campaign…DCMS looks forward to seeing the results of its mix of cinema, social media and online promotion in the coming months and years.”

This is in support of work ScreenSkills is doing with the government’s Education and Culture departments to find practical solutions to resolve the issue that up to £15 million a year apprenticeship levy funds which screen companies pay in isn’t being used to tackle the skills shortages and inclusion challenges the sector faces.


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