Training Provider Forum sees launch of dedicated website hub

ScreenSkills welcomed training providers from across the UK to Birmingham this week for the second annual Training Provider Forum. The providers, specialists in the screen industries, each work closely with ScreenSkills to deliver skills training to those at different stages of their careers to further support the screen workforce.

The forum provided an opportunity to reaffirm existing relationships and form new connections, discuss how ScreenSkills can work in collaboration with providers to develop the UK's workforce and introduce some of the Skills Fund’s priorities for the year.

It also served as a launch for the new dedicated training provider hub on the ScreenSkills website. Built to meet the needs of training providers across the screen industries, the hub will act as a one-stop shop for training providers covering practical advice on how to work with ScreenSkills and highlighting the breadth of opportunities and resources available.

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Visit the new training provider hub

ScreenSkills CEO Laura Mansfield introduced the event with an impassioned thanks to the providers and reiterated the importance of skills training for the industry. She said: “It feels like an incredibly important time to be talking about skills in the screen industries. I’ve been speaking to people right across the UK and I can report that skills is at the top of the agenda, whether it’s producers, freelancers, broadcasters, streamers and government. What you’re doing has never been more important. You’re helping create a creative, sustainable, resilient workforce and giving people the tools and the skills to make great programmes and supporting them to build careers in film and television.”

Kaye Elliot, Director of High-end Television, spoke about how ScreenSkills acts as an umbrella for each of the five dedicated Skills Funds, allowing a level of collaboration that is beneficial for all sectors. She said: “The Funds (film, HETV, animation, children’s, unscripted TV) were created to pledge that the workforce and the industry would be supported by productions and by industry to ensure we had an evergreen growing workforce. The ScreenSkills umbrella enables all Funds to work collaboratively to maximise that investment and make sure we’re creating value for money for the industry.”

Showing a snapshot of the breadth of those who have invested, the session helped to “demonstrate fundamentally that everybody has that purpose and that shared desire to invest in skills.” Kaye explained the process of how skills areas are identified through the Fund’s relationships with industry, skills councils and working groups which result in the need for training in these areas.

This was reflected by Emma Turner, ScreenSkills Head of Film, Animation and Future Skills, who expanded on how ScreenSkills and the Funds work with training providers in a session that covered the practicalities of the training funding process.

In addition to introducing providers to the new training provider hub, Emma sought to reassure providers about the support they will receive while applying and emphasised the need to respond directly to the tender. She advised: “The expression of interest and application need to match the brief. Ensure you answer our core objectives and match the tender. Acknowledge the diversity and inclusion targets we set and the timeframe we need that to be done in.”

Using an example of a tender that might be put out to illustrate the point, Emma pointed to the length of details that have been added specifically by industry which must be addressed in an application in order to be successful.

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Find out more about working with ScreenSkills

In a session built around success measurements and reporting, Morten Wright, Training Liaison Manager, Unscripted TV Skills Fund, discussed what KPIs are used, how they are reached and what help is available to training providers to reach these targets.

Speaking on why these measurements are required, he said: “We work to remove skills gaps and shortages within the UK screen sector workforce through implementing skills and training. The aim of this is to promote an inclusive screen sector by removing barriers to entry and embedding diversity and inclusion in all of our activity. By working with training providers from all of UK we can provide easy access to local opportunities, training and career development.”

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Learn how ScreenSkills champions diversity and inclusion

Eager to confirm that diversity and inclusion figures are aims and not quotas, Morten detailed how feedback from the training – led by the providers but informed by ScreenSkills and programme candidates – can help improve training, assess retention and progression and further support the workforce.

This, in turn, helps ScreenSkills to demonstrate the impact and value of each training programme, a key theme throughout the day.

An afternoon session led by Eli Beaton, from the TV Access Project, focused on the importance of embedding accessibility in all training. She introduced the 5As, recently launched and hosted on the ScreenSkills website, that use key phrases to ensure training – and productions – are accessible to all.

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Discover the 5As and how they help accessibility

In an interactive session, Eli asked attendees to think how they can incorporate the 5As – anticipate, ask, assess, adjust, advocate – into their work. The end goal is to “elevate and uplift disabled talent”, to encourage those with access requirements to join the training and take part.

A session on e-learning was led by Tim Weiss, Director of Vocational Skills, where he pointed to the suite of online learning available on the ScreenSkills website. “From a broad perspective, our e-learning has two main goals,” he said. “To provide high quality, flexible online training to offer wide-scale opportunities across UK, and set consistent benchmark for use across the industry. And secondly, to act as a broad gateway into ScreenSkills, so people across all stages of career join our community and benefit from full breadth of resources and initiatives on platform to develop potential.”

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Discover the range of ScreenSkills online learning

Before a final Q&A session, Emma Turner took to the podium to share the Funds' upcoming priorities and areas of focus for the forthcoming year. It allowed the providers to see the likely training that would be put out to tender and touched upon the already commissioned short courses that had been co-funded and developed across the Funds.

The day closed with a networking session that allowed providers to make new contacts and ask further questions of the team, upkeeping with Laura Mansfield’s aims: “We want to be great partners, great commissioners and great collaborators.”

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