UK producer Neil Peplow is to leave Skillset to relocate to Australia and become director of screen content at the Film, Television & Radio School (AFTRS) from May 2.

The Sydney-based role puts him in charge of developing training for students of the directing, screenwriting, documentary, screen business and screen studies courses. AFTRS also has a production division which provides training that is craft based.

Peplow has been director of film for the last two years at Skillset, the UK creative industries training body.

Previously he had been an independent producer and head of production at The Film Consortium, during which time the company produced the Australian/UK co-production The Proposition and My Summer Of Love, which opened the 2005 Sydney Film Festival.

Other credits include executive producer on Bright Young Things and co-producer on Waking Ned and Shooting Fish. He attained an MBA at the London Business School in 2007.

Peplow has an MBA from teh London Business School and has also lectured at the NFTS and the Media Business School in the UK.

In a statement painting the appointment as a major coup, AFTRS chief executive Sandra Levy described her new recruit as “one of the most outstanding people in the British film industry”.

“He brings with him a fresh eye, an international vision and a unique perspective on training for the creative sector,” said Levy, who was re-appointed last year for a further four-year term.

Peplow replaces Graham Thorburn, who was in the job for eight years.

“It is an honour to join such a well-respected school, with a rich history and an exciting future,” said Peplow. “This position brings together my passion for film making and education, in a forward thinking, progressive organisation. A majority of what I have been doing in my career has involved spotting, developing and promoting executive and creative talent. I look forward to using that experience to help nurture the next generation of Australian talent.”

AFTRS received $23.5m (A$23.6m) from the Federal Government in 2009/2010, a quarter of the $93.3m (A$93.6m) received by Screen Australia for development, production and marketing across documentary, television, film and new media.

AFTRS was established in 1973 and graduate numbers are at an all-time high, in part because younger students are now being recruited. Media, communications and production courses at other institutions have flourished during the life of the school.