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Brits to take lead in film training

A five-year pound;50 million plan to revolutionise training in the film industry was launched this week.

The UK film and video industries employ around 50,000 people, and more than pound;500m was spent on film production last year.

A new training and education strategy, produced by Skillset - the sector skills council for the audio visual industries - and the UK Film Council, will, they say, transform the industry. It will ensure the UK film industry can compete on an international level in all areas - from script-writing to set construction, from marketing to make-up, and from directing to digital effects.

"For decades, the skills support available to those working in the British film industry has been sporadic and fragmented," said Stewart Till, deputy chair of Skillset and the UK Film Council.

"What opportunities did exist have often been poorly communicated and delivered by myriad unco-ordinated training providers.

"Regrettably, nepotism and contacts, rather than open selection and aptitude have also been a key recruitment criteria, with a consequent real lack of diversity across the film workforce."

He said with the strategy, A Bigger Future, the UK would lead the world in film training.

A network of screen academies in further and higher education would provide an agreed mix of creative and commercial skills needed by the industry.

There had been a huge expansion of courses in the media, film and communications over the past 20 years. "Yet there is a clear perception right across the film industry that only a few of these courses deliver the right mix of vocational skills," says Skillset.

There will be a "time bank" of film industry professionals who will give up time for lecturing in schools and colleges, and running training courses.

A one-stop shop on the internet will provide careers advice for new entrants, and those wanting to improve their expertise and marketability.

Grants and bursaries will help companies to take on trainees, and to equip existing staff with the changing skills they will need.

Lottery, industry and other public funding will back the initiative.

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