27 Mar 2020
A free package of remote and interactive training, online talks and masterclasses with industry leaders will be launched by ScreenSkills next week to support freelancers in upskilling and staying in touch with industry during these difficult times.
Leading figures from across all the broadcasters, indies and the new content providers have stepped forward to give their time to share insight and show solidarity with the screen industries workforce in this unprecedented period of lockdown. The new package builds on initial support in mental health, wellbeing and practical issues such as employment law that have been underway since the beginning of the week.
Announcing the extended programme today, Seetha Kumar, chief executive of ScreenSkills, said: “We know the big worry for many freelancers right now is the impact of lost jobs and income due to the Covid-19 crisis. ScreenSkills, with colleagues across the creative industries, has lobbied the Government to act and gave a cautious welcome to news of some financial support for freelancers.
“However, we thought it was important to play our part in making sure the industry and its workers stay as resilient as is possible in the circumstances. So we have built a range of online sessions - some offer practical guidance on issues such as employment law, others on skills from pitching and development to managing teams and others offering useful industry insights from executives, creatives and commissioners that we hope will be helpful for your return to work when it comes. Still others are just to help you get through the day.
“It’s a programme developed in haste with enormous support from our colleagues across the industry and will evolve in coming weeks. But it is being shared in a spirit of all doing what we can to support the amazing screen industries workforce during this hiatus in production.”
Training and support is being offered from the High-end TV Skills Fund with industry contributions and through ScreenSkills film team investing industry contributions to the Film Skills Fund and National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI. This builds on work kickstarted by the ScreenSkills Indie Training Fund who have been offering rapid response support including an employment and contract law surgery, business skills for freelancers and mental health and wellbeing sessions since Monday with more to follow.
Now the TV Skills Fund is investing contributions from BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 in a programme led by media consultant Donna Taberer of six sessions a day for forthcoming weeks including Q&A sessions on finance, business skills and working from home. The schedule will be:
There will also be mini writers’ rooms to support writers including first-time writers.
The detailed programme will be released a week at a time to allow everyone a chance to benefit. Numbers will be kept modest in the first week of pilots but will be adjusted where possible after that to meet demand. We are politely asking freelancers not to over-book as we want to reach as many freelancers as possible. And if you need to cancel please let us know so we can release the place. We hope to record most industry great masterclasses and craft workshops and these will be shared at a later date for those freelancers who can’t make the allotted time or if sessions are over-booked.
All ScreenSkills events can be found in the directory here.
We are incredibly grateful to all the industry executives and freelancers who are giving their time.