Post-production industry apprenticeships ready for lift-off

Features  |  22 January 2020

A new apprenticeship standard for post production technical operators, which was championed by UK Screen Alliance, is set to launch on the 30th of January 2020.

A group of leading employers are this month (Thursday 30th January) launching a ground-breaking apprenticeship programme for Post-Production Technical Operators,  with an event for employers at BFI South Bank. The scheme is being launched by the UK Screen Alliance together with higher education partner, London South Bank University (LSBU).

The new Post-Production apprenticeship scheme will apply – not only to post-production companies operating in TV, film and advertising –  but also to in-house edit assistants working at indie production companies.

The course content has been  developed by a ”Trailblazer” group of industry employers led by Rowan Bray, Managing Director of Clear Cut Pictures, in conjunction with Neil Hatton, CEO of the UK Screen Alliance. Other companies involved in the development include: MPC, Fifty Fifty, West Digital, Molinare, Framestore, Technicolor, Company3, Encore, Motion Pictures Solutions, Platform Post, Run VT, Flix Facilities and Pinewood Studios. The development process was funded by the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund from contributions from high-end TV productions.

“This apprenticeship has been put together by industry, for industry, to exactly fit our needs. It will teach apprentices not just how to perform certain tasks but also provide them with the necessary technical theory to help them understand how it all works and why we do it this way. This is the first time for many years that we have been able to access fully-funded training of this scale and quality.”

Rowan Bray, Trailblazer lead employer, MD Clear Cut Pictures.

The employer group has selected London South Bank University (LSBU) to be the preferred training supplier for this apprenticeship. Apprentices will undergo an external independent assessment by AIM Assessment at the end of the one-year course, after which, successful apprentices will receive an officially recognised qualification – at an HNC equivalent level. AIM Assessment will gauge operational competence via a multiple-choice knowledge test, a professional discussion with an independent industry experienced assessor and a demonstration of practical tasks.

As this apprenticeship has been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, it is eligible for public sector funding. Apprenticeship levy-paying employers can offset the training costs against their compulsory levy payments, but smaller companies that don’t pay the Levy could receive a 100% subsidy on the training cost by applying to the UK Screen Alliance ALT (Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund) which redistributes unused levy contributions from larger companies.

Apprenticeships are often used for fresh recruitment, but Neil Hatton predicts that initially many post-production companies will want to use them to promote existing staff. “An employer may already have some promising runners and this apprenticeship provides a cost-effective way of investing in their development, to turn them into valuable technical operators.” says Hatton.

“This rigorous and relevant training will raise the bar for developing highly competent technical operators and edit assistants and deserves to be recognised as the gold standard in post-production. We highly recommend it to employers in the industry.”

Neil Hatton, CEO UK Screen Alliance

The Government defines an apprenticeship as 80% ‘on-the-job’ training with an employer, plus 20% ‘off-the-job’ learning from an approved training provider.

London South Bank University (LSBU) has been selected to deliver the ‘off-the-job’ elements of the apprenticeship in three blocks, spread over a year. The University was chosen by a panel of employers responsible for ensuring a high quality level of teaching and value for money for applicants.  LSBU has also engaged the services of industry expert Pat Horridge from post production consultancy, VET Training to provide specialist knowledge and insight into current practice.

“We are proud to have forged this link with the UK Screen Alliance and leading post-production employers in London. We look forward to welcoming our first cohort in the Spring where apprentice technical operators will be taught in LSBU’s state-of-the-art studios. This is a ground-breaking partnership that supports the upskilling of our creative industry base and also benefits the next generation of undergraduate and graduate students.”

Janet Jones, Dean of LSBU’s School of Arts and Creative Industries

“The High-end TV Skills Fund recognises the importance of a wide range of jobs across the whole supply chain so was pleased to have funded development work that was vital in getting this apprenticeship standard agreed.”

Kaye Elliott, ScreenSkills Director of High-end Television

The ‘off the job’ training element of the scheme kicks off on 6 April 2020, but applicants can start applying earlier, from 30th January onward.

Details about the apprenticeship launch event can be found on the UK Screen Alliance’s website.

If you are an employer who would like to express your interest in hiring Post Production Technical Operator Apprentice, visit here to fill out an expression of interest form.

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