The BBC, Channel 4, Paramount and UKTV are joining forces to address the current production management skills gap facing the UK TV industry.
Executive producers, production managers and production coordinators are regularly cited as being among the most difficult roles for independent production companies to recruit, yet they are essential to the success of the UK creative industries. Additionally, demand is increasing given the growth in UK productions and increased requirements for production management.
To respond to these issues, the broadcasters participating in the scheme each create a specific fund for production management skills. This fund will be used to increase the volume of production management skills and capacities in the sector. The intention is to alleviate short-term pressure in production management and help build a longer-term talent pool.
Collectively, the broadcasters are committing £1m ($1.3m) over the next 12 months.
Participating broadcasters will use their PM Skills Funds to contribute at least 50% of the salaries of these additional roles for the duration of a production. Where possible, they will prioritize diverse talent, independent small and medium-sized businesses, and those based in nations and regions.
Along with the PM Skills Fund, these broadcasters have agreed to collaborate on outreach and engagement, working with other relevant industry organizations to market production management as a career.
David Pembrey, COO of BBC Content, said: “Production management is a highly skilled and vital part of our industry. We want this funding to make a positive difference for productions that we know are managing increased demands, and help develop the next generation of production management talent.
Clare Brown, Controller of Production Finance at Channel 4, said: “As a former production manager myself, I know that PM and PC are at the heart of a production and integral to its success. . Funded by 4Skills, this fund will help develop and maintain this pool of production management talent that is so essential to the continued growth of production in the UK.
Nan Whittingham, Vice President of UK Production at Paramount, said: “Production managers are vital to our industry; content cannot be created without finding and retaining top talent in production management. This dedicated initiative is a top priority for us, and we are excited to be working on it with our broadcast partners. It will support Paramount funding for learning, development and skills gaps, as announced by Ben Frow last year.
Richard Watsham, Director of Commissioning at UKTV, added: “Production management is a vital and long undervalued part of our industry, and the lack of skills in this area affects us all. This is something we should take seriously, acting quickly to address it. The essential funding announced today will help, but we must continue to monitor progress and take further action as necessary to ensure the incredible creativity of British production is protected.