ScreenSkills launches training to support return to film and HETV production

© ScreenSkills/ Erroll Jones

ScreenSkills’ free online training designed to support screen industry workers stay safe on productions in the context of  Covid-19  is launched today.

 The training has been supported by the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund,  with contributions from high-end television productions, and the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds as part of its Future Film Skills strategy. 

 The coronavirus basic awareness on production e-learning module addresses a range of issues now facing film and television production and provides crucial information on how to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus on production.   

 It covers areas where there are clear potential risks including transport, catering and the sharing of equipment and topics such as the monitoring of symptoms, social distancing and sanitisation.  

The step-by-step course concludes with a short test upon successful completion of which candidates will receive a certificate that can be easily validated on the ScreenSkills website. Certificates are normally valid for six months after which candidates will need to re-take the learning and test to ensure their knowledge is still up to date.  

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “This training is designed to help everyone on a production keep themselves, their colleagues and their environment as safe as possible in the face of the new challenges presented by the coronavirus. We want to support the UK’s screen industries to continue to make great film and television by providing simple tools and information so that the risks are minimised and managed.”   

The training was developed to complement the Working Safely During Covid-19 guidance developed by the British Film Commission for film and high-end television and is also expected to help unscripted television work safely in the context of Covid-19.    

 ScreenSkills has partnered with Skills for Health, a not-for-profit in the health sector that is already working with the NHS and other sectors to provide training for the Covid-19 crisis, and First Option, established safety consultants to the entertainment industry, to ensure expert input.      

Christine Healy, chair of the ScreenSkills HETV Skills Fund and head of production, New Pictures, said:  “This training gives everybody information about what they will need to do to work safely when they get back into production in the Covid environment. It should particularly help freelance crew members be prepared for the return to work and encourage people to stop and think about how living with Covid-19 will have on how they perform their roles within the production workplace. It is great that ScreenSkills has been the leader in bringing this practical training toolkit around the coronavirus to those who need it. I will certainly be asking people on my productions to do the course.” 

Iain Smith, chair of the ScreenSkills Film Skills Fund, chair of the BFC and founder of Applecross Productions, said: “Covid-19 has changed how we must work. Film and TV production is a naturally collaborative medium and as such is potentially vulnerable to this virus. The objective is therefore to create as safe a working environment as possible whilst maintaining productivity and creativity. This will require clear methodologies and a disciplined approach from all departments, cast and crew. Everyone will have to adapt the new ground rules to suit their particular departmental needs, whilst fulfilling the requirements of their scripts. Nothing can be taken for granted. I am really pleased that ScreenSkills is supporting the industry’s return to work by offering this vital training at this crucial time.” 

Leigh Adams, the BFI’s director of education and skills, said: “This practical and accessible course has been developed to complement the guidance which is there to keep our industry’s cast and crew safe when film and TV projects across the UK get back into production. As soon as it is viable and safe to do so, productions of all sizes will be back up and running, and this training will give our fantastic crew the knowledge and confidence to get back into the workplace.” 

Candace Miller, executive director at Skills for Health,  said: “Skills for Health is delighted to have been able to participate in such an important and key training development in helping the screen industry re-activate within a Covid-19 world.”     

Paul Greeves, managing director of First Option, said: “The coronavirus is the biggest challenge to production since the 2008 crash and is going to require new thinking and new ways of working by everyone involved.  A crucial part of that is providing everyone with the knowledge and a consistent approach to working safely so we’re proud to have contributed to this course.”   

 The online training underwent testing with working members of industry last week and will be reviewed at regular intervals and updated if necessary.

A separate programme of discussions designed to support industry in implementing the guidance and working safely will launch shortly. This will include sessions on film management and logistics, working in tech and craft and an overview of the practicalities of shooting from a high-end TV drama that has recently gone into production.   

Go to the press release or to e-learning FAQs for more information.

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