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ScreenSkills is to bolster its Make a Move stepping up scheme and job-share programme for freelancers as it sets out to address skills shortages created by the high-end drama boom.

The agency’s High-end TV Skills Fund will plough £10.1m into training in the coming year, a 50% growth on the £6.7m it invested in the current financial year.

Of this, £2m will go into the Make a Move scheme, which supports stepping up opportunities for crew on productions, almost double the current £1.1m. The job share scheme for freelancers is expanded to 40 places.

Covid-relays production delays, plus more US productions shooting in the UK, particularly for SVoDs, are driving up demand for skilled crew.

In ScreenSkills’ own research, 86% of participants said shortages were ‘serious’ or ‘very serious’, up from 72% last year.

Roles identified as facing shortages for the first time include assets clearance, the sound department, carpentry and construction, VFX, post-production supervisor and coordinator, make-up artists and dailies and digital imaging technician.

The agency is to fund 200 placements for new entrants in its Trainee Finder programme, up from 120 last year, and has created at least six trainee posts in virtual production.

The HETV industry working groups will continue to focus on developing mid-level crew and building capacity in the UK-wide workforce. Newly-created industry working groups for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will identify local training opportunities.

The HETV Skills Council has agreed to raise the cap on contributions paid on all productions costing up to £5m per broadcast hour from £61,000 to £66,3000 from April.

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