West London Teens Urged to Consider Careers in Film and TV

Huge growth of industry in area creating skill shortages

Olivia Maiden – “Film is for everyone. It’s about expressing creativity”
Olivia Maiden – “Film is for everyone. It’s about expressing creativity”

November 22, 2023

A new report on the local film and TV industry has identified a developing skill shortage in the west London area and concludes that young people in the area should be considering it for a career.

The area is home to many of the country’s most important screen companies, including Sky, Disney, Discovery and the BBC. As a result, this part of west London employs almost 20% of all UK film and screen industry workers, part of an industry which generates over £3 billion annually to the British economy.

The Film & Screen Audit Report was carried out by West London Business, Creative Enterprise West, Middlesex University and JGA Futures via the West London TV & Film Skills Hub, with support from the Mayor of London’s office.

Looking at the training and skills provision for the area’s film and screen industry, it has forecast there will be 1800 vacancies annually to 2025. As a result, it is believed that more young people need to be made aware of the opportunities, upskill, and enter this growing industry.

23-year-old George Kreitem from Palestine has had a passion for film and TV since he was 12
23-year-old George Kreitem from Palestine has had a passion for film and TV since he was 12

The review found that the screen industries are growing faster than the overall economy across the UK, yet the growing industry has severe shortages for some roles, such as production and crew roles. Crew roles typically require on-the-job training, and many West London colleges, training providers and universities are offering courses that are solutions to this skills gap. For example, West London institutions, including 7 universities, 7 colleges and 8 training and education providers that include LAMDA, Global Academy, MAMA Youth, and MetFilm School, offer a local solution to crew shortages and skills gaps.

Many film and screen roles are also suitable for those not keen on a traditional academic path. In West London, there are 116 screen industry-related courses that range from film and TV production, through to animation, Games, and VFX. And many courses are Entry-Level (sub-GCSE equivalent), with the majority at Level 6 (undergraduate).

Many of the vacant roles are also suitable to those looking to switch career paths, and so the audit recommends that more work needs to be done to attract workers from outside the film industries, into technical, support and craft roles, including roles such as electricians, accountants, or in set production or set decoration.

The audit also found that while 65 types of roles were identified as skills shortages, of these hard to recruit roles, the majority (54) had courses delivered in West London.

Many young people who have recently enter the industry would encourage others to follow in their footsteps. 25-year-old producer, Srishti Chhabria said, “I graduated with a BA in Filmmaking from MetFilm School in 2019, before completing a Masters in Film & Television. I’m now a Co-Founder of a production company, Gunpowder House Productions, which I run with two others, creating narrative cinematic content for adverts, trailers and short films. This is the best job in the world – I get to be creative every day doing something I love. I had no film industry connections before my course, so the course was vital to connect me with industry and like-minded people. Mine was also a very practical course, so if you don’t like sitting down all day writing essays, my course was great.”

Srishti Chhabria - 'This is the best job in the world'
Srishti Chhabria - 'This is the best job in the world'

Actor and Director, George Kreitem, aged 23, said, “I’m originally from Palestine, and my passion for theatre and film has been with me since I was 12. I decided to take a short film course in London in 2018 to prove to my parents I was serious about this industry and further affirm that this is what I really wanted to do by knowing more about the process. After several years of saving up, I then came back to London to study a BA Hons in Screen Acting at MetFilm School. I did not know anyone in London, or have connections, but I am firmly in the industry now, and am building a network that I hope will support me in the future. I’ve learned to speak up and sell myself through meeting more people in the industry, and I’m currently working towards excelling as an actor. I aspire to tell and direct my own stories regarding where I come from.”

21-year-old Olivia Maiden, an Events Executive and Freelance Film Producer added, “Film is for everyone. It’s about expressing creativity. I’m working as an Events Executive in the film industry while producing part-time, and I love both aspects of my career. My Screen Acting degree course was practical, but also gave me access to a community of students and the wider film industry, which was really helpful to find work after graduating.”

Bill Boler, Partnerships Director, West London Business and Creative Enterprise West said, “If you know a young person who loves film and TV, or likes to be more practical than theoretical, then please urge them to think about a career in the film and screen industry. There are vacancies waiting for them! Our audit has made clear that universities, colleges and training providers in West London are a critical element to the screen industry’s talent pipeline; educating and training thousands of students annually and building close relationships with employers that will improve the opportunities for new entrants into the industry. In fact, our colleges and universities have collaborated on a progression agreement, which provides local residents in collages inti higher level qualifications at universities, which can then lead to more senior roles in this exciting industry.

“The film and screen sector now faces significant recruitment and skills challenges, which must be overcome to maintain its growth and importance to West London and the broader UK economy. Our recommendations are designed to support young talent, as well as education institutions and employers to collaborate and innovate more effectively in order to overcome these challenges.”

Speaking about the intersectionality between education and employment in the film industry, Thomas Hoegh, CEO and Founder, Garden Studios, added, “The success of the creative industries depends on collaboration across education, industry, and public sector partners. When a business like ours does well it’s because our clients have benefited from our connections to the local community and the pipeline of talent coming through our educational partners, like MetFilm. We all play a crucial role in securing the future of this exciting, multi-faceted industry.”

For more information, or to download the audit, visit this page.

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