Bectu unites with UK screen sector to tackle skills development across the creative industries 

17 November 2023

Industry bodies across the UK film and TV sector have come together to create the Skills Task Force, which will focus on long term skills development and sustainable growth across the sector. 

Made up of 28 organisations from across the UK film and TV sector, the Task Force was convened in response to the 2022 BFI Skills Review, which identified some of the most critical issues facing the sector, and ways in which both Government and industry can address them.

The rapid growth of production alongside issues of retention has exacerbated the skills shortage that has plagued the sector since the pandemic, which saw thousands of skilled creatives leave the industry in search of better pay and more stable work patterns elsewhere. 

Chaired by Creative Executive Georgia Brown, the Task Force has devised a new and transformative approach to skills advancement, aligned to the Creative Sector Vision and its target of £50 billion growth in the creative industries by 2030.

Through a three pillared approach, the task force’s new report proposes strengthening strategy and partnership, supporting sustainable growth and sustainable careers, and putting work-based training at the heart of skills development. 

The report also sets out several recommendations for the industry, including a new remit for a pan-sector strategic skills body that will work across the sector to further the long-term skills strategy. 

Other recommendations include new plans to develop a pan-sector funding model, strengthening engagement with further and higher education sectors through workplace training opportunities, and fresh revisions to the apprenticeship levy. 

Read the report here.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs says: “The skills shortage has long been a critical issue in the creative industries, with many highly trained creatives leaving the sector during the pandemic in search of more secure work elsewhere. 

“Against a backdrop of rapid growth in post pandemic production, skills shortages across the sector have only continued. The feast or famine nature of the industry – whereby there may be an abundance of work one minute and none the next – has created an incredibly difficult environment to work in. Unsustainable working practices ranging from long and unsociable hours and challenging working conditions, have merely exacerbated the issue and led to many skilled freelancers considering their future in the industry.

“The recent SAG-AFTRA and WGA industrial dispute in the US, and the AMPTP’s reluctance to negotiate a fair deal, contributed to a slowdown of production work in the UK, with a Bectu survey revealing that 80% of respondents had their employment directly impacted and highlighted the precarious nature of the industry.  

“Bectu welcomes the development of the Skills Task Force to tackle the issues highlighted by the 2022 BFI Skills Review and notably the importance of improving equality and diversity. This is an exciting opportunity, so it is essential that the industry comes together to work in partnership with the workforce and their trade unions, to establish healthier working practices, create long lasting change and safeguard the future of the sector and its workforce.”