Record graduate numbers fail to fill media skills gap

Almost 100,000 students on 5,000 media courses will graduate this summer in
the UK, but according to industry experts the British film and TV industry is
still suffering from a skills shortage.

Employers from the industry, meeting with education and training bodies at
the Training Insight Conference in Birmingham, all agreed that the sectors had
to work more closely to close the gap ‘between aspiration and reality’.

The conference followed a 2003 report by Screen West Midlands and the West
Midlands Learning and Skills Council, which found fears of "a glut of
under-equipped media graduates who were not directly employable in the
industry".

Krysia Rozanska, chief executive of Screen West Midlands, said the sector
had to have more communication with institutions and tell them what is going on
in the industry.

Will Hanrahan, managing director of Hanrahan Media, was highly critical, and
said that many media students lacked the ability to think strategically. He
added that he didn’t "want to have to teach people how to walk when they
come out from colleges".

Catherine Conn, training manager for video games developer Codemasters,
said: "You are having to re-educate lots of people, especially [those from]
media courses. It’s all about the basicsÉ in terms of people not being prepared
for work in any way, shape or form."

Following the conference, three working groups will be formed to identify
employers’ skills needs, to help create closer links between educators and
employers, and to look at how institutions can create education networks to
maximise resources.

The groups will steer the strategy of ‘clusters’ of creative agencies,
employers, and learning providers created by the West Midlands Learning and
Skills Council (LSC).

As a result, the LSC plans to release a strategy for the industry in
September this year.

By Michael Millar

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