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BFI Skills Cluster

Sarah Whybrew, Director of Skills and Workforce Development, from the British Film Institute (BFI) provided this summary on Skills Clusters:

BFI is committed to supporting a skilled and sustainable workforce that reflects the UK population and has undertaken various research to inform funding priorities. This includes the 2022 Skills Review and one of its recommendations was to support an industry-led and localised approach to investment in training.

In 2023, BFI launched the national lottery Skills Cluster programme to support the development of local crew bases. £9m is being invested between 2023 and 2026 in Skills Clusters in Production Hub hotspots across the UK.

The clusters are tasked with identifying local skills gaps and shortages, whilst working with industry and training providers locally to create clear training programmes and pipelines into roles in below-the-line production (behind the camera), with an emphasis on supporting the development of talent from underrepresented groups. The clusters will come together regularly to share learning and best practice and support long-term evaluation.

Other skills programmes that the BFI is supporting, some of which act as a pipeline into the Skills Cluster programme include:

  • Careers and Progression Programme educating 11-18-year-olds about the breadth of screen careers, delivered in schools across the UK
  • Young Creatives programme supporting disadvantaged young people aged 11-16 to make their first step into filmmaking
  • BFI Film Academy supporting 16–19-year-olds to undertake early training for specific careers in screen, delivered across the UK
  • Business development training programme supporting the growth of Screen SMEs across the UK
  • Good Work Programme ensuring the sector can access information and support to improve recruitment, management, and contracting practices