The time is now for a skills action plan to serve all of Wales, says report
Investment in skills and training is needed for a sustainable film and TV sector across the whole of Wales – not just focused on the Cardiff Capital Region – so that transformational change can build an inclusive workforce.
That’s according to Screen Survey Wales – a report by the Music, Performance and Media Research Unit at the University of South Wales (USW) in collaboration with Creative Wales, the Welsh Government agency set up to drive growth across the creative industries.
The report, published today (9 February), makes a series of recommendations to tackle skills gaps and training needs of the screen sector, casting a light on the changes seen during the Covid-19 pandemic on areas of Wales outside of the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR).
The recommendations include:
- An action plan for skills and workforce training that extends beyond short-term responses to immediate crises, and looks at long-term planning and investment
- Prioritising support for regional microclusters when it comes to talent retention and future skills development, to improve creative diversity and opportunity across the sector
- A travel fund to support training opportunities for new entrants to access filming locations at antisocial hours, improving the chances of skilled employment in rural and semi-urban areas
- Action to support structural, medium-term partnerships between Higher Education, Further Education and other training providers and production companies
The research team was led by Professor Ruth McElroy, Head of Research in the Faculty of Creative Industries at USW and Co-Director of Clwstwr, the national creative hub which aims to grow innovation in the creative industries. Prof McElroy was joined by Dr Helen Davies, a Research Fellow at USW and an experienced academic researcher and media practitioner with over 10 years working in the screen sector; Tom Ware, Director of Production and Performance at USW, and two graduate interns, Phoebe Lacey-Freeman and Megan Franzen as research assistants.
Their research showed that only 40.7% of companies surveyed collaborated or worked with apprenticeships, Higher Education or Further Education providers, with only 37% of companies collaborating with other training providers.
The report also found that the sector overwhelmingly comprises SMEs, with 59% of the companies surveyed employing fewer than four members of staff. Informal methods of recruitment, such as word of mouth, were listed as the main way for 77% of companies to find workers.
Prof Ruth McElroy said: “Screen Survey Wales provides an evidence base to develop and deliver an action plan for screen skills across Wales; providing a snapshot of the film and TV production sector in those areas of Wales that receive less critical attention than the more high-profile CCR cluster.
“Regional clusters – such as those in north and west Wales – may be smaller in size, but their regional impact is very significant. They can help drive improvements in fair work, improved job opportunities and a more equitable distribution of public funding to enable talented learners, workers and businesses to thrive, wherever they are based. Culturally, the concentration of the screen production sector in the CCR may skew the imaginative power of film and TV to tell stories that reflect the diversity of Wales’ people.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the growth of Wales’ screen sector, makes 2022 the time to implement an action plan driven by the values of social justice, sustainable business growth, and genuine inclusion for all creative talent, wherever it resides. The time is now.”
Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director of Creative Wales, added: “We are pleased to have supported the University of South Wales to deliver this insightful report.
“The findings and recommendations that have emerged from this research, along with findings from the University’s ScreenWorks 2020 report, will help to inform and steer Creative Wales’ strategic priorities when it comes to investing in screen skills, and will also form the basis of a three-year skills action plan which will be launched in the coming months.”
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