The UK's Skills Investment Fund (SIF) has reached £6 million, thanks to contributions from films being produced in the UK. This year contributions have come from Quantum of Solace, The Duchess, Easy Virtue, RocknRolla, and Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging.
The fund, a training levy on theatrical film production, is administered by industry body Skillset and funds skills and training initiatives across the film production industry. 2009 will see the levy become mandatory with the establishment of the Film Industry Training Board (FITB). Producer Iain Smith (Children of Men), Chair of the FITB, is leading the process of changing the SIF from a voluntary to a mandatory levy.
Endorsing the importance the fund, Bond Producer Barbara Broccoli said, 'The UK film industry has a worldwide reputation for highly skilled crews. Commercially we benefit greatly from this well deserved reputation and to maintain it we must support the workforce and their continual development. The SIF levy is a vital way of doing that, with contributions being invested in the production talent that helps the UK to compete globally.'
515 productions have contributed to the SIF since its launch in 1999. The investment money was put towards training initiatives through the Skillset Film Skills Fund.
It has paid for nearly 300 new entrant production trainees and more than 1,000 bursaries for film practitioners to access their chosen training. It has also enabled Skillset to subsidise the cost of over 11,000 places on training courses, seminars and master classes for professionals already working in the industry.
Kay di Rezze recently completed the Skillset-funded Production Guild's Assistant Production Accountant scheme. 'Getting on a scheme like this was fantastic. They give you so much information on the industry, who does what and what the protocols are. They really show you how things work. I'd been trying to get into the film industry for five or six years. Skillset opened a massive door of opportunity for me,' di Rezze said.