Last Week Broadcast magazine published a round table discussion on training in TV drama, looking at what should be done to address the growing skills problem in the industry.
The panel included freelance journalist Benji Wilson acting as Chair, Exec producer from Kudos Noelle Morris, Head of Production and Business at Red Planet Pictures, Alex Jones; Managing Director of Little Island Productions, Helen Flint, TV Partnership manager from Creative Skillset, Ruth Palmer and Matthew Justice, Managing Director of Big Talk Productions.
The panel debated the main problems facing the drama sector, particularly since the introduction of the tax credit which, through its success, has created an increased demand for skilled crews. Issues highlighted included concerns over holding and retaining crew - who might get a better offer elsewhere mid-production; creating a competitive atmosphere on UK productions; and most importantly - the need for training and career progression. The shortage of directors, amongst other issues, was also mentioned.
Concern was raised around the table about the loss of clear training programmes, along with the increasingly limited opportunities for training on productions, such as The Bill, which used to offer a training opportunity for crew.
So, what is contributing the skill shortage the panel were asked? Alongside the increasing demands created by the Tax Credits, it was felt that training had not being reinstated after being reduced during the recession, the freezing of the licence fee, the consolidation of indies and the increase in high-end highly authored works that can be sold worldwide but offer limited opportunity for training were all playing a part. Ruth Palmer from Creative Skillset talked about the need to develop more experienced crew and talent to work on the higher end productions.
The panel discussed what training programmes should look like. The need to be straightforward and easy to work with was the clear answer – reference was made to our own Directors UK pilot mentoring scheme as one which offered a practical approach which production companies could easily get behind.
So, what is the solution? Funding for training was a key issue in this discussion. The question of who should take responsibility for investing in training was debated. Who should be driving it? Who should be funding it? Is it the Broadcasters? Is it the Indies? The Government? Creative Skillset? How can we bring everyone together to collectively make it better for the industry?
To find out more – read the article at Broadcast Now (Subscription access only).
Let us know your views. What do you think about the skills shortage? Do you think there is a shortage? What should be done to improve training opportunities? Who do you think should be driving the training needs for the industry and particularly for directors? What training programmes do you think would help you?