ARE QUALIFICATIONS RECOGNISED?


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In a recent survey of 1,000 employers in various industries about whether job applicants possess the skills to thrive in the work place, more then half of employers said finding qualified applicants was difficult.
It appears that many companies in our industry are pretending that all is well. They must believe because as so many people want to work in it that these future employees will get training somewhere somehow, so there is no need not make any investment in training.
I recently phoned some of the major programme producers to hear about their training policies. Only one of the companies I called had taken positive steps in training.
Shine had joined with Livity a production company that works with young people from diverse and disadvantage backgrounds. It's a social enterprise company helping young creative people who may find it hard to enter the industry. With training they will produce programmes mainly as web content but hopefully eventually for broadcast. Any profits are put back into the company. The students would work with a tutor and also have mentoring from senior staff from Shine. This seems like a very good scheme to bring trained people into the industry. If all the major programme producers had schemes along these lines then that would be brilliant. But there will be only 8 students taken on which is only about 0.1% of the number of people working in the industry.
Talkback Thames had a scheme for taking on 15 to 18 year olds which they called a 'Work Inspiration' Scheme. I contacted them a few times but I was unable to find out exactly what the students got out of the scheme and whether it would lead to any work.
Channel 4 is investing £250k (it made £40m profit in 2010) in an Investigative Journalism Training scheme for reporters who will work on the 'Dispatches' strand of programmes. It will offer courses for 20 people over the next 2 years.
When students leave the recognised universities that are known to produce good graduates, i.e., Bournemouth Film School, Ravensbourne, NFTS, one asks if their qualifications are recognised and what value are put on them by TV executives?
Consider the situation where a production company wants to employ a director for a new entertainment show and have called two directors for a meeting. One has a MA from NFTS and the other has spent some time in Hollywood.
The one with the MA has been through many tough selection processes to get to do the MA and has £20k of student debt, whilst the other has a friend in Hollywood and has spent some time 'helping' on film shoots and has learnt the Hollywood way of building up his CV.
Will the selection people recognise the value to them of the MA or be blinded by the chat of Hollywood? Would they pay more for a well qualified person? I don't know, but I expect they may well be impressed by the 'I worked with film stars' chat.
In my experience there have been many cases where directors turn up for OB's and have little or no understanding of how the system works and seem to think that just shouting at people will make things start; sports directors seem to be the worse! I expect the only training they had was by watching and learning from other directors who also shouted! With proper training they would understand that there is more to directing then just cutting between cameras and EVS. Good programme making involves team work and understanding other people’s roles and problems which ultimately will be a great benefit to the crew, the audience and the channel.
I was once working in a studio as a lighting director and we did a pre-record. On play back the pictures looked too dark. I went to the VT record person and asked if there had been a 'line-up'? The reply 'What's line-up?'
I expect that the Production Manager who had employed the VT Op did not realise that there is more to operating a VT machine then just pushing play and record buttons. Did the Production Manager realise the value of employing a trained person? Maybe, but I expect this VT Op was cheaper and the Production Manager did not think there was any need to pay for a trained person. The value of training was not recognised and the results were visible on screen again at a cost to the programme, the audience and the channel.
There are of course many similar examples, you may know of some yourself!
There is the Indie Training Fund which is a training charity, it gets its finding from money paid in from its sponsoring companies and Skillset. They run courses normally one day in length for mainly production personal. It would even be better if more production companies paid into the fund then there could be more training. This money may even be taxed deductible!
The future is not all bleak, there seems to be a small glow of hope as companies come to realise that they can no longer hope that there will be skilled and well qualified staff in the future. Investments will have to be made now to satisfy these future skill needs


Tags: iss062 | lighting | training | bbc | channel 4 | talkback thames | shine | N/A
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