Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, producer Barbara Broccoli, BFI Chair Josh Berger and BFI CEO Amanda Nevill launched Future Film Skills – An Action Plan to some of the biggest names in film and education.

Barbara Broccoli, Producer, Eon Productions and Chair of the UK Film Skills Task Force, said: “We live in a diverse society and it is vital both culturally and commercially that our industry reflects this in front of and behind the camera.  With industry, education and government uniting behind this new Film Skills Strategy and 10 Point Action Plan we know we will be able to increase the number of people working in film and ensure we have a representative workforce.”

UK film is worth £4.3 billion to the economy and is the UK’s fastest growing sector. The UK film sector currently employs 66,000 people, over 70% of whom are employed in film and video production. Some parts of the sector such as VFX and animation have seen a rapid growth in the workforce, as the UK has cemented its position as a global centre for specialist talent and capabilities.

The BFI commissioned report reveals that the film workforce comprises 12% from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds, 5% with a disability and black, Asian and minority ethnic groups represent just 3% of the production and post-production workforce. Women make up 40% of the workforce and earn on average £3,000 less than male counterparts. With an estimated 10,000 new entrants to the industry needed, and 30,000 job opportunities over the next five years, there are significant opportunities for the film workforce.

Future Film Skills provides a scale-able blueprint for the creative sector, with the UK creative industries currently accounting for 1 in 11 jobs, a rate that is rising faster than all other parts of the economy. Based on these growth rates, identified multiple skills gaps across the sectors include key areas such as Production Department, Art Department, Construction, Electrical, Camera, Costume, Hair and Make-Up, Post-Production, and Visual Effects – and highlights the need for 10,000 new entrants to join the workforce in the next five years.

With investment of over £20 million of National Lottery funding from 2017-2022 into film skills, it is anticipated this investment will leverage match funding from the industry’s own Skills Investment Fund and fund the backbone of the industry-owned and industry-led Future Film Skills 10 Point Action Plan.

This skills strategy is supported by Lucasfilm which has pioneered a pilot programme with the BFI placing 28 trainees – the majority of which are alumni of the BFI Film Academy, as paid trainees, working in various craft and technical roles across the Untitled Han Solo Project, currently in production at Pinewood Studios. The Lucasfilm programme is an exemplar in industry-led youth training with a specific focus on inclusion and designed to provide opportunities to address under-representation in the workforce. On this programme 75% of the trainees are women, 45% come from BAME backgrounds, 68% were recruited outside Greater London, and 36% received free school meals. Some of the trainees spoke at the House of Commons event –

Brahim, aged 20:

“I grew up on a refugee camp in north west Africa and the entire reason I got into filmmaking and I tried to get into this industry was because the love that I have for storytelling and all the stories that I have from my background that no-one has ever heard about because of the huge conflict that has been going on for the past few years. I came to live in London almost two years ago and it seemed impossible to wrangle and tangle the British film industry. I came across the BFI Film Academy and it was a documentary residential and it couldn’t have been more perfect because that’s what I wanted to do.”

Sarah, Production Accountant:

“I have always had an interest in film and filmmaking from a young age. It was something I shared with my father growing up and we would make our own little stop motion animations, visit locations from movies and read books/watch TV shows, etc., about how movies were made. I had always thought that film would be something that would remain as simply an interest, and not something I expected to become a career opportunity. I had qualified as a chartered accountant in 2014 and I wanted something new and challenging to sink my teeth into.”

The Future Film Skills 10 Point Action Plan – draws upon the results of a review with practitioners across the industry from the Work Foundation that evidences the vital need to address the skills shortages and that tackling the lack of inclusion in the screen industries is the key to enabling future growth and competitiveness.

THE 10 POINT ACTION PLAN

    1. A trusted and reliable careers information service – A single, trusted online destination for anybody seeking information to start or progress a career in the industry.  Offering links, networks and information for training and jobs in film throughout the UK, building on and linking to sites such as Into Film, HIIVE and BAFTA Guru.
    2. An accreditation system to guarantee employer confidence – Developed by the industry for the industry, in partnership with higher education, to win the confidence of parents, learners and employers, this will build on the achievements of existing work and will involve industry and employers in setting up the scheme.
    3. A suite of new Apprenticeship Standards –We will complete and deliver a new Apprenticeship Standard which will be applied to courses for a range of job roles throughout the industry including production, distribution and exhibition.
    4. A Skills Forecasting  Service – A responsive skills forecasting and planning service to respond to industry needs, and to ensure the regular supply of data across the sector on future skills opportunities.
    5. Embed the BFI Film Academy into the skills pipeline – We will develop the success of the BFI Film Academy to work closely with industry, placing set-ready alumni as trainees on film productions across the UK.
    6. A mentoring service to break down barriers for new entrants and returnees – A new personal mentoring programme that offers bespoke support for individuals wanting to enter or progress in the film industry, and those returning after a career break. Including mentoring, pastoral care, coaching and opportunities to network, and awareness of specific job opportunities.
    7. World-class Centres of Excellence for screen-related craft and technical skills – Working with higher education and the new Institute of Technology we will partner to create a small number of world class Centres of Excellence for screen-related craft and technical skills.
    8. A new bursary programme to ensure wide participation – A new bursary programme designed to support individuals taking their first steps, and removing some of the practical obstacles to those currently under-represented in the industry
    9. Professional development courses to maintain world-class skills – A new range of professional development courses, aligned with the latest technology and business skills will ensure our workforce maintains world-class skills.
    10. Mobilise the industry – We will encourage the industry to support the future workforce through a number of schemes and campaigns including creating a database to match individuals with local needs, and which recognises enlightened employers who encourage skills transfer.

The BFI’s five year plan BFI2022 sets out a goal that all producers active in the UK are encouraged to voluntarily adopt the BFI Diversity Standards which focus on disability, gender, race, age and sexual orientation (as they pertain to the Equality Act 2010) and also seek to ensure that people from lower socio-economic groups are better represented.

Future Film Skills includes plans to provide equal opportunities for those from all backgrounds, irrespective of socio-economic background or geography, to have the skills they need to access jobs that will be created in the screen industries of the future. This will only be achieved by reaching out to the broadest pool of talent from across the UK, starting in schools through ‘Into Film’ (the BFI’s National Lottery-funded partner which delivers school film clubs and film education resources for teachers), and with support for the growth of craft and technical skills outside of London and the south-east.

The Future Film Skills Action Plan will:

  • Demystify getting into the film industry for young people with easy to access career advice and guidance on the right courses.
  • Provide bursaries and support services enabling people from all backgrounds to get into the film industry.
  • Open doors for those with appropriate skills (from carpenters to digital creatives) to move into the film industry.
  • Set up specific schemes to encourage industry practitioners to share their knowledge and expertise.

Amanda Nevill, CEO BFI said: “We are on the cusp of a huge opportunity to bring thousands more into this dynamic industry where there is a genuine need for more skilled workers – from hairdressers to accountants, software developers to model makers. They also need to learn and develop their skills from the best, so we call upon everyone in the industry to help us make this a reality. This is not a ‘nice to have’ but an ‘urgent must’ if we are to achieve the growth potential for UK film that is in front of us.”


Future Film Skills has been developed as a result of a wide industry consultation led by the BFI with the Film Skills Industry Task Force, chaired by Barbara Broccoli and including BFI CEO Amanda Nevill, Creative Skillset CEO Seetha Kumar, Chair of the Film Skills Council Iain Smith, Double Negative MD Alex Hope, Ben Roberts, Director BFI Film Fund and producers Marc Samuelson, Fiona McGuire, Callum McDougall, Faiza Hosenie and Damian Jones.

The Work Foundation was commissioned to look at the current and future needs of film in recognition of the potential and current economic growth of the film industry, which continues to outperform other sectors considered to be booming, including construction, financial services, and information and communications.

The Work Foundation report can be accessed online at: www.bfi.org.uk/FilmSkills

Find out more about the BFI Film Academy here.