Memorandum submitted by Skillset
Skillset was established by the industry in
1992 in order to:
"encourage the delivery of informed training
and vocational education provision so that the UK's audio visual
maintain and enhance their creativity, productivity and competiveness".
Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph
and Theatre Union
Commercial Radio Companies Association
International Visual Communication
Motion Picture Association
Producers Alliance for Cinema and
In addition, we have specific industry based
committees in Scotland, Wales and English regions.
2) Whilst established by the industry for
the industry, it has always worked in partnership with Government,
first as an Industry Training Organisation and then as a National
Training Organisation. In 2001 the DfES, in consultation with
the Ministers in the devolved administrations announced their
intent to abolish the NTOs (of which there were over 70 covering
different sectors of the economy) and replace them with smaller
network of better resourced, more influential Sector Skills Councils.
3) Four key goals have been identified for Sector
Reducing skills gaps and shortages.
Improving productivity and business
Increasing the opportunities to boost
the skills and productivity of everyone in the sector's workforce,
including action on equal opportunities.
Improving learning supply including
apprenticeships, higher education and national occupational standards.
Employer led bids were invited for five "trailblazer"
SSCs. Skillset was awarded trailblazer status and was in the first
SSC to be launched in the UK in March of this year.
4) Skillset works in a fast moving sector
which is constantly adjusting to and exploiting the opportunities
that new technologies bring, whilst relying on an available workforce
which is over 50 per cent freelance.
We also have an employer base which has fragmented since the 1980s,
with a significant growth in micro-enterprises and SMEs estimated
This context presents challenges as to how best
to maintain and grow the skills base which our creative content
driven industry requires.
5) Our industries are growing faster thant
the UK economy as a whole. They are major contributors to the
UK's balance of trade They promote British creativity and innovation
to the rest of the world. And human capital has the potential
to give us the extra competitive edge in the global marketplace
in which we operate. That is why we established, with the Department
for Culture, Media & Sport, the Audio Visual Industries training
Group, chaired by Roger Laughton, CBE.
The Group's mission was:
"to investigate and report on the current
and future skills required in the audio-visual industries and
to recommend the training and education needed to develop these
skills so that the UK can compete effectively in the world media
6) The AVITG Report, "Skills for Tomorrow's
Media" was launched in September 200175 senior industry
figures were involved in the Group's work. It produced the most
comprehensive and in-depth investigation ever undertaken into
future skills needs across the UK media industries. The sector
has come of age and a key indicator of its developing maturity
is the collective desire to drive towards increased professionalism.
The AVITG recommendations achieved a consensus of support across
the industry and provide a strategic action plan for employers,
unions, trade associations, professional organisations, training
providers, further and higher education, individuals and governments
and their public agencies. The Group's major recommendations can
be summarised as follows:
The need to:
deliver an on-going programme of
research, including an annual Census, to inform employment and
build stronger links between post-16
education providers and industry sectors, including the need for
vocational centres of excellence;
create opportunities for individuals
to learn new skills throughout their working lives at a cost they
develop better industry-wide support
mechanisms to ensure adequate investment to meet the training
needs of freelancers and small companies;
implement recruitment and employment
policies that are fair and transparent;
secure an increased supply of workers
with core ICT skills;
provide reliable and accessible advice
for all about opportunities in the audio-visual industries;
enable the sharing of good practice,
including wider use of monitoring;
deliver "joined-up" Governmentthe
need for co-ordination of policies between Governments, Government
departments and public agencies in the nations and regions; and
provide core funding from Government
and industry for Skillset to sustain a UK-wide support structure
We now have a blueprint for development which
contains generic and sector specific recommendations UK-wide,
as well as additional analysis and recommendations for Scotland,
Wales, Northern Ireland and the English Regions.
The most difficult short-term issue was identified
as the shortage of training opportunities for the large members
of freelance workers on whom the industry sectors depend and the
lack of funding available for those freelancers who do want to
access training. One of the key recommendations of the report
"individuals should have the right to affordable
and relevant training at all stages of their working lives .
. . whether in or out of work . . .".
As the Chair of the AVITG stated:
"our task now is not just to deliver the
recommendations set out in this reportbut to ensure we
get an industry confident enough and committed enough to pay more
than lip service to the role of training in its future success".
7) All of these recommendations come with
a cost of implementation. In some cases this cost can be met by
allocating existing investment in different waysfor example,
better focusing the public investment made in vocational education
and training in schools, colleges and universities. However, many
recommendations will only happen if new funding can be identified.
The problem, as the AVITG Report identified is that:
"funding training is an investment in generating
competitive advantage. Yet the advantage, (particularly in an
industry characterised by high levels of freelancing), is for
the sector as a whole over a period of time, rather than for an
individual employer faced by day-to-day management problems. But
industries that do not understand the need for change become everybody's
problem when they fail. Under investment is as much a problem
in the audio-visual workplace as it is in schools, hospitals and
rail networks . . . AVITG believes regulators, present and future,
have an important role to play in ensuring that support for training
is underpinned by licence requirements".
Noting that the White Paper, "A New Future
for Communications" stated:
"there is a case for OFCOM to have a general
responsibility to promote support for training across the wider
broadcasting industry, including powers to research and monitor
performance. This would be underpinned by licence requirements,
as deemed appropriate by OFCOM, for licences to set out plans
in this area . . . We would expect OFCOM to work with Skillset
and industry in progressing this, taking into account the recommendations
of the Audio Visual Industries Training Group".
The AVITG made the following recommendations:
Education and training should fall
in the first tier of OFCOM'S regulatory structure.
In the radio and television sector,
OFCOM, in conjunction with Skillset and other relevant industry
monitor training and education
investment made by all licensed broadcasters, with particular
emphasis on the investment made to support cross-industry strategies
and the training and development of freelancers;
as part of the monitoring process,
introduce a common methodology for assessing the extent, quality
and impact of education and training provision that has been agreed
agree minimum levels of contribution
by broadcasters to the training and development of freelancers,
to be made public as a condition of licence. It may be appropriate
to consider the public sector broadcasters as a separate group
for the purpose of setting levels of contribution;
enable licensee companies to
provide additional external training and education support at
regional or national level, focused on the needs of freelancers
and small independent producers, through reliefs on payments levied
on advertising revenue;
require all broadcasters to publish
their training and vocational educational investment and provision
on an annual basis.
Television broadcasters should provide IPTF
with relevant information about independent production commissioned
and actively support the collection of the IPTF voluntary levy.
It also recommended that Government should ask
the existing regulators to work with Skillset to jointly start
the process of implementing proposals before OFCOM is set up.
8) Skillset, therefore, on behalf of its
stakeholders wishes to strongly welcome the inclusion of training
in the draft Communications Bill and the fact that the BBC and
S4C have both been charged with adhering to Tier 1 responsibilities,
which covers training.
The clause 11.1 relating to OFCOM currently
"It shall be the duty of OFCOM to take all
such steps as they consider appropriate for promoting the development
of opportunities for the training and retraining of persons
a) for employment by persons providing
television and radio services
b) for work in connection with the provision
of such services otherwise than as an employee".
We would suggest an amendment so that the clause
"It shall be the duty of OFCOM to take all
necessary steps to promote the development of opportunities .
It is vital that OFCOM is charged with working
in partnership with Skillset, the Government recognised Sector
Skills Council, in identifying and recommending the steps that
they consider appropriate
"for requiring the licence holder to make
arrangements for the training and retaining of persons whom he
employs, in or in connection with:
a) the provision of service
b) the making of programmes to be included
in the licensed service."
We fully support clause 224.4, requiring the
providers of the service to take steps to articulate, review and
report on the operation and effectiveness of their activities
in pursuing the conditions.
9) We trust this submission is informative
and helpful to the work of the Committee and would welcome the
opportunity to give evidence on this critical issue which is key
to the future of the sector in the UK.
99 Audio visual, in this instance, includes radio,
television, film, video and interactive media. Back
This varies between sub-sectors-for example, in radio the percentage
is lower-18 per cent. Back
Independent Production (for Television) Training Fund-administered
by PACT with the support of the main broadcasters. A voluntary
levy of 0.25 per cent of the total cost of a production up to
a ceiling of £6,250 has been applied and is taken from the
producers fee or profit margin. To collect the levy effectively,
PACT needs information and support from broadcasters. Here practice