Five years ago a group of practitioners who were concerned about the poor training provision and a lack of common skills standards in the broadcast industry formed the ITTP. Since then there have been many meetings with senior industry figures and representatives from training organisations and educational establishments.
The ITTP has received support from His Royal Highness Prince Charles, many broadcast organisations, including BT Sport, Sky, and ITV, and also many of the major broadcast manufacturers and partners such as Sony, Blackmagic, Soho Editors, Cirrolite, Avid, Ross Video and Vitec. Several other major industry employers such as NEP Visions, CTV Broadcasts, and Arena TV are also supporting us. All of these broadcasters, manufacturers and employers have also supported three very successful conferences that we have run at Pinewood Studios.
The common threads throughout our discussions and the three annual ITTP Conferences have been the issues of poor training provision and a lack of common skills standards. We decided that a possible solution was to set out a basic set of expected skills, and define a suitable scheme for individual testing/assessment. This led to the development of the ITTP Approved Skills Scheme.
Whereas training within the broadcast industry used to be centred on an extensive and thorough provision delivered by the major broadcast organisations, in the last ten to fifteen years there have been drastic changes in training provision for the broadcast industry. There are in excess of 70 training organisations and educational establishments providing courses that include TV production techniques and operations. The courses are of varying quality. In some cases the teaching staff have had no professional TV, film or broadcast experience.
This fragmentation of training reflects the trend set by the broadcasting industry itself. There was a time when only the BBC and some ITV companies undertook to give school leavers grounding in production and operational techniques both through theoretical courses and practical training. Only those with satisfactory results were confirmed in employment and operational managers knew the standard that they had reached.
There are already industry related means by which courses can be assessed and accredited; for example, Skillset Approval and BKSTS/IMIS Accreditation. These schemes are designed to ensure that a course meets industry requirements in terms of its design and delivery, through assessing the content, and the physical and human resources devoted to the courses. However, they do not assess the suitability of individual students to work in the industry at the end of their course. The ITTP Approved Skills scheme is designed specifically to fill this gap.