Hundreds of media professionals awarded TV multiplatform training windfall

Posted by: Nick Sheridan, Skillset

on November 23, 2009 00:00

A £200,000 investment is being made in a major Skillset scheme to subsidise the cost of TV multiplatform training for up to 500 media professionals across the UK.

The launch of Skillset’s Multiplatform Bursary Scheme comes as new research reveals that, while many TV businesses are struggling to focus on professional development training, freelancers are the hardest hit.

Skillset’s Creative Media Workforce Survey shows that more than a third of freelancers (37 per cent) in the creative media sector fund their own training – compared to just five per cent of company employees. Less than a third (31 per cent) of freelancers have training paid for by employers, compared with three-quarters (75 per cent) of company employees.

Skillset’s TV Skills Council – which is made up of 10 senior industry figures who collectively represent all of the terrestrial broadcasters, cable and satellite broadcaster, independent producers and entertainment unions – has made multiplatform training its top priority.

Professionals awarded a bursary can use it to attend one of 38 multiplatform training courses approved by the Sector Skills Council for the Creative Media Industries. The scheme, which is being paid for by Skillset’s TV Freelance Fund, will provide up to 500 training places and can be applied for by employees and freelancers up to the end of March next year.

Peter Dale, Skillset’s TV Skills Council Chair and CEO of Rare Day, said: “There is industry consensus that multiplatform delivery is the way forward for TV. But there are still massive skill gaps in the workforce that need to be addressed before this can become a reality. Schemes like this are vital if our television industry is to remain among the best and most innovative in the world.”

Kate O’Connor, Skillset’s Executive Director of Policy and Development, said: “It is not just people from within the TV industry who are needed to help keep pace with this change – digital skills from all aspects of the sector will be required as TV converges with other media. We are making sure our workforce is in the best possible position to maximise opportunities in the new media landscape.”

Non-TV media professionals are also invited to apply if they wish to make the transition into a multiplatform working environment. A subsidy of up to 80 per cent of the cost of the course (up to a maximum of £800) is available to freelancers, and up to 50 per cent (maximum of £500) is available for company employees.

Applications for the scheme open on November 23.

For more information on what courses are eligible and how to apply, please visit www.skillset.org/multiplatformbursaries.

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