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New training to enable film and high-end television production to resume safely in the UK will be rolled out in June, according to ScreenSkills.

The aim is for everyone working on a production, irrespective of their role, to have access to basic health and safety information to enable them to operate safely in the Covid-19 world.

The basic level of training will take around an hour and be delivered online and free.

Those with departmental or management responsibility may be required to undertake additional training to ensure productions meet industry-designed best practice and government guidance.

The intention is that crew members will have to demonstrate that they have undergone the training before they return to a set or location. 

The training will be based on the new guidelines, developed for film and high-end TV by an industry-working group convened by the British Film Commission (BFC) as part of the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force, which will be published before the end of the month pending government approval.

UK film and television training body ScreenSkills is partnering with Skills for Health, a not-for-profit organisation already working with the NHS, and entertainment industry safety consultants First Option, on the training.

The work has been 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.

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills’ chief executive, 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.” 

Iain Smith, chair of the ScreenSkills Film Skills Fund and founder of Applecross Productions, added: “The impact on different departments in production will vary. Being a location manager on the periphery of a shoot will be different from being a focus puller working close to a camera operator and actors. Everyone is going to have to understand not only what they must do to stay safe, but the impact of their actions on the cast and crew around them.”

Last week the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that film and television production could restart providing all involved abide by social distancing guidelines.

However most production won’t be able to begin until issues around insurance have been resolved and the new health and safety guidelines have been signed off by the government. All physical film production has been shut down since the country went into lockdown on March 23.