Survey results: what freelancers need right now

© ScreenSkills/ Erroll Jones

ScreenSkills today publishes findings from a survey of nearly 700 freelancers indicating the support they want during the Covid-19 crisis. The results will inform the skills body’s response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The findings suggest that freelancers have two main priorities. The first is to respond to vital needs such as financial and employment guidance, which are considered instrumental in keeping them going. The second is to be prepared to re-enter the workforce when production recommences, through upskilling and workforce development.

This suggests that the range of sessions ScreenSkills began to organise as lockdown commenced resonated with the needs of freelancers, with 69% asking for practical financial and legal advice and 59% expressing an interest in masterclasses with industry experts. Practical skills training on topics such as business planning (30%) and leadership (20%) were also widely requested.

The ScreenSkills programme already up and running has proved extremely popular. The new evidence will be used to continue to tailor the sessions in weeks to come to meet the needs of professionals working in high-end, unscripted or children’s TV, film and animation.

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “The big response to this survey at a time when there are so many issues for screen workers to be considering shows there is a strong appetite for support right now. In the first few weeks of the Covid-19 crisis, we have already set up a programme of practical guidance on financial and employment issues alongside masterclasses and other events designed to keep the industry informed and connected – all delivered while we also endeavour to move as much training online as can be delivered effectively.  We will further tailor what we are providing for the screen workforce in coming weeks and months as a result of these findings.”

The online training is funded by the ScreenSkills Skills Funds, made up from voluntary industry contributions, as well as National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of its Future Film Skills strategy and memberships of the Indie Training Fund.

The survey was conducted among screen industry freelancers between 31 March and 9 April.

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