Diversity at heart of new media skills training fund

Creative SkillsetIn what is hailed as the biggest collaborative industry investment yet, some 500 partners from the creative sector are investing £17m into skills training with a particular focus on creating more diversity within its workforce. The figure is a near match of the £20m already invested in the scheme through the government.

The industry initiative, which is led by Channel 4 and Creative Skillset and has the support of businesses, trade organisations and unions alike, is meant to develop and drive the education and skills needed in order to ensure the UK maintains its position as "world leader for the creative industries" and will place an emphasis on creating a more diverse workforce.

In total the initiatives that are funded through this investment fund are to lead to the creation of 25,000 new jobs in the collective creative industries.

The fund, which will be managed by Creative Skillset, will offer both new entrants and those already working in the industry the chance to obtain especially those skills which are in particular demand in industries such as film, television, animation, VFX, creative digital media and advertising.

ITV, for example, will launch a new soaps training programme for new trainees working on Coronation Street and Emmerdale productions. The scheme will be led by experienced staff who can pass on their skills.

Pinewood Studios will open its successfully piloted studio management programme up to 50 new entrants, who will be able to follow a specialist studio management programme while enhancing their skills to meet the increasing demand for talent in that area of the film production industry in the UK.

Pinewood's CEO Andrew Smith told The Knowledge: "The UK has been struggling to meet the demand. Warner Bros is opening three new stages, Pinewood is nearly doubling in size and we will soon have a new studio complex opening in Wales. Over time we identified a lack in management skills." Three people (pictured below with Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock) have already successfully completed the course and are now in full time employment at the studio.


Pinewood studio management trainees with the minister Matthew Hancock at the creative skills training fund launch

From left to right: Studio Management grads Sasha Budzynski, Dean Horne and Patrick Wilbraham with Matthew Hancock MP

Channel 4's chief executive David Abraham said: "Through this co-investment we can ensure learning and training is of the highest quality and that we can open the doors of the creative industries to diverse new talent, voices and ideas; allowing us to own our own growth and collectively invest in skills. At Channel 4 we have in our central remit that we are supporting new talent, so this scheme was a no-brainer for us."

Creative Skillset will also distribute 900 bursaries through its Diversity fund for people with disabilities, people from BAME or LGBT backgrounds and will overall ensure that skills are obtained nationwide and women get equal opportunities through the use of the fund's initiatives. The Diversity fund will be launched next week and people app