Skills bodies, ScreenSkills & Skills for Health, join forces to tackle COVID-19 with cross-sector partnership

Image: Skills bodies, ScreenSkills & Skills for Health
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By Paul Tingle | 1 June 2020

As the Sector Skills Council for Health we are proud to be involved in a new cross-sector partnership, formed by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK’s screen industries, to develop training to help film and high-end television return safely to production.

The training is being fast tracked in response to the new challenges facing an industry that saw at least £426 million worth of productions postponed or suspended when social distancing measures followed by lockdown were announced. The intention is that basic training will be ready to roll out within weeks and that crew members will undertake the training before they return to set or location.

Seetha Kumar, Chief Executive, ScreenSkills said: “We are working swiftly to support the industry in what it needs to know and do to get back to work while operating safely in the new environment. The numbers of people and equipment and the often close physical contact involved in making film and television means we must all work together to make sure any risks are managed and minimised.”

The development, led by ScreenSkills, is combining our expertise as one of the UK’s leading providers of quality assured online learning to the NHS, private healthcare and social care training, with First Option’s knowledge of the entertainment industry’s safety requirements. Together we will deliver an innovative and robust health and safety solution to ensure everyone working on a production, irrespective of their role, has access to basic health and safety understanding to operate in the context of Covid-19.

The work is being supported by the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund with contributions from high-end television productions and the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds as part of its Future Film Skills strategy.

Iain Smith, Chair, ScreenSkills Film Skills Fund and founder of Applecross Productions, said: “I am really pleased that ScreenSkills is taking the lead in putting together the vital training the industry needs and supporting the return to work.”

Christine Healy, Chair, ScreenSkills HETV Skills Fund and head of production, New Pictures, said: “The HETV industry is working hard to put in place the steps needed to get back into production as soon as we are able…We’ve got to make sure we are giving our workers information so that they know how to stay safe and well in this changed filming environment.”

As the severity of Covid-19 escalated in March, we recognised the need to provide a digital coronavirus training solution to match the increased demand on the health and care workforce rapidly returning to front-lines in response to the outbreak. Since the launch of our free Covid-19 online Awareness Course on March 25, over 24,000 professionals from across the NHS, health, care and wider public sector workforce have completed this vital training, which is delivered on a mobile first solution to allow staff to access the learning at pace & on the move.

Candace Miller, Executive Director, Skills for Health said: “It is a real pleasure to be working with ScreenSkills on this important development. Our work in the health sector has shown just how critical it is that everyone has the understanding they need to work safely within the changed working conditions that Covid-19 has brought across all sectors of our economy. This training is integral to ensure that production processes can get back on-stream, confident that every member of the team has the skills and knowledge they need to adapt to new ways of working.”

This rapid action and innovation in response to the unparalleled challenges the pandemic has inflicted across society has demanded that organisational and sector boundaries be overcome, forces joined and the kinds of partnerships that have previously taken months, if not years to develop, be seemingly formed in a matter of days and weeks.

Paul Greeves, Managing Director, First Option, said: “We’re delighted to be working with ScreenSkills and Skills for Health to develop this much needed training to enable the production sector to get back to work. Working safely under the threat of this disease will require new thinking and new ways of working across all aspects of the production process and everyone involved will need the right information and knowledge to play their part in that.”

The role that cross-sector working has played in tackling COVID-19 is indicating a promising future for the need for agile partnerships. The emergence of this more collaborative and nimble approach to improvement during these last few months holds the potential to change the way that partnerships are established in the long-term.

The crisis has revealed the interconnected nature of society. It has demonstrated the need for organisations to work not just within but across sectors to allow for the smartest use of resources to deliver transformational change. It has proven that such innovation would have been impossible without collective action and that more often than not, the best solutions lie in local capacity and knowledge. The lessons learned from Covid-19 about agile partnering must be applied to the realisation of a sustainable and inclusive workforce for the future.

Find out more about our online training workforce solutions in response to COVID-19.

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