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Making a difference: Women in an inclusive film and TV workforce

Speaking on 15 May 2017 at ‘Making a Difference’ – an event run by WFTV (Women in Film and TV) and the BFI – Creative Skillset’s CEO, Seetha Kumar, highlighted four principles for supporting even more women in developing their film and TV careers: 

  • Identify current and emerging skills gaps – where there’s need there’s opportunity.
  • Target investment and skills development at priority industry needs.
  • Review outcomes – learn from what works best.
  • Repeat and publicise what works – get women to tell their stories.  

Kumar talked about Creative Skillset initiatives which had increased workforce inclusivity, including:

  • Trainee Finder, which matches trainees with placements in UK film and TV companies. 61% of trainees were women, including 38% of those in camera roles where historically there has been significant under-representation.
  • The New Directors Scheme with BBC Writersroom and Directors UK, which develops the skills required to take on directing continuing dramas, resulting in a full director credit on an episode. In the most recent intake 8 out of 9 placements were female.
  • The Return to Work Scheme with Film London, where women comprised 80% of those placed in “returnship” roles across development, production, post production and marketing.
  • Flexible training initiatives, such as Sgil Cymru’s Script Supervisor course, which supports re-entry into the industry.  A successful participant explained:

To others like me looking to return to work having lost their confidence I’d say that, although technology changes, the essence of the job doesn't… Loss of confidence isn't easily overcome, but persistence and tenacity eventually pay off."

Kumar also called for more collaboration between all the various groups for whom inclusion was a priority, and this was echoed robustly in a rousing summary of the way forward at the end of the Conference.

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