According to a recent report, Wales is the third busiest hub* for TV and film production in the UK, creating unprecedented demand for skills and talent in a growing sector that Creative Wales aims to boost through funding and support.
With a screen sector that sits behind just London and Manchester for popularity, this is a very busy time for the Creative Wales Skills & Talent team as they look to boost the industry workforce here in Wales. This summer alone, Wales hosts some major productions, including Havoc (Netflix) starring Tom Hardy and Forest Whitaker, His Dark Materials Series 3 for BBC One and a brand new Lucasfilm production – a reimagined TV series of the original movie classic ‘Willow’ that will air on Disney Plus.
Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director for Creative Wales said:
“Creative Wales has invested around £8 million into supporting screen projects in production over the next few months alone. To address the unprecedented demand for skills and talent, we’re committed to providing trainee opportunities in the form of paid industry placements, with more than 60 funded over the next year. These placements are tracked and monitored to help ensure future careers pathways for all trainees.”
One of these is Costume Trainer Jaye Wakely, working in the costume department on the set of Havoc, who said:
“In a good way we’re getting thrown in at the deep end. Starting on a big production is scary at first, but then you’re ready to go for every big production you work on after that. It’s great these opportunities open up so close to home.”
Creative Wales not only ensures business support for the growing number of production companies based in Wales, but also plays a key role in attracting productions to shoot in Wales, maximising the impact of inward investments on the local economy and the wider supply chain.
They have been collaborating with industry partners, unions and training providers to address skills shortages, and have conducted a recent University of South Wales survey to find out more about the skills gaps.
Havoc’s director is the renowned film maker Gareth Evans from the Cynon Valley. He said:
“It’s about being able to provide opportunities and discover who the next film makers and film crew are going to be.”
“To see people come in at a trainee level and find love for what we get to do on a day-by-day basis is huge, and to see them continue to flourish and prosper and keep working across the sector is massively important.”
Another production in Wales to take on trainees is Series 3 of BlackLight TV’s On The Edge. Executive Producer Philip Trethowan said:
“Wales is very film friendly. I have always found Creative Wales to be a fantastic support. Most importantly, the standard of crew in general is very high in Wales. Not just because of their technical ability but because there is a real camaraderie and ‘can do’ attitude, which goes a very long way.”
Creative Wales is also supporting the new production apprenticeship scheme CRIW – Cardiff and Vale College and Sgil Cymru – an apprenticeship for the film and TV industry, and there are numerous examples of apprentices making career progressions within the industry, including Joshua Legge who is currently working on His Dark Materials Series 3 (Bad Wolf), and Arwen Teagle, who apprenticed on Craith/Hidden 3 before moving onto War of the Worlds 3 (Urban Myth Films).
All skills and talent projects within the screen sector which Creative Wales supports, fulfils one of the following five priority areas:
- Building awareness of careers in the creative sectors
- Developing diverse and inclusive recruitment pathways
- Entry level training – ensuring opportunities for all
- Upskilling training – enabling workers to fulfil their potential
- Company and talent support.
Supporting inclusivity and diversity in the screen sector workforce is a key component of all projects supported to date. Creative Wales is working with Watch-Africa Cymru’s Culture Connect Cymru/Wales (CCC) project to increase diversity in film and TV, with the four main broadcasters partnering on the project.
Fadhili Maghiya, Director and Founder of Watch-Africa: Wales African Film Festival said:
“Creative Wales is also supporting the National Film and Television School Wales, which opens this summer. The school delivers a wide range of the National Film and Television School’s world-class training courses, whilst offering bespoke courses, designed and delivered to support the breadth of talent in Wales. It is located within the BBC Wales building in Cardiff.”
Longer term the Creative Wales Skills & Talent team is looking to expand into supporting the skills and talent needs of the other creative sectors; digital, music, publishing and emerging sectors.