Screen Australia announces $1 million for state training and skills development

Sarah Fraser on the set of 'Rosehaven' (Image: Scott Bradshaw)

Screen Australia will distribute $1 million of funding among the state screen agencies to support training and skills development programs, including placements for below-the-line roles.

While the exact allocation of the funds is not yet known, the agency has identified immediate actions for each state that the money will go towards.

It follows Screen Australia’s appointment of Ken Crouch in the newly-created role of head of industry development, with the former Screenworks CEO having started last month.

Speaking to IF, Crouch said the funds would assist the work the state bodies were already doing, as well as what they wanted to do in the future.

“This is an important first step in supporting the work they’re doing and is a real indicator of the collaborative approach that all of the agencies and other stakeholders across the industry are taking to help address capacity constraints and skills shortages,” he said.

Screen Australia is part of the national Workforce Capacity Working Group, convened by Ausfilm, which also incorporates the Office for the Arts (as chair), the Australian Film Television and Radio School, Ausfilm, NIDA, and the state screen agencies.

The group was formed in 2021 on the back of an Ausfilm-commissioned audit into Australian production infrastructure and capacity from Olsberg SPI, which found the country is facing capacity constraints in key roles such as line producers, 1st assistant directors, unit production managers, and location managers, as well as positions across post-production, visual effects, and animation.

Arts Minister Tony Burke said the new funding would help “ensure creative talent is nurtured, and artist and arts workers have career structures that are long-term and sustainable”.

The immediate actions identified by Screen Australia to receive support through the funding include:

  • Screen Canberra: Training and placements in crew positions, including locations and unit management on local productions.
  • Screen NSW: On-the-job training and upskilling opportunities for practitioners through placements on productions across film, and television, including post-production. Screen NSW will work in partnership with industry and training bodies.
  • Screen Queensland: Placements for key crew roles on domestic and international productions, such as in accounts, location management, art department, PDV and script supervision.
  • Screen Tasmania: Crew placements on productions in key crew roles, including increasing the number and length of attachments already being facilitated. Screen Tasmania will also increase opportunities and financial support for Tasmanian practitioners to undertake training and attachments in interstate productions.
  • Screen Territory: Providing five paid attachments for Northern Territory creatives to work in art, locations, sound, camera or makeup departments on local productions.
  • Screenwest: Supporting a 12-month program to provide targeted skills development and placement opportunities for below-the-line roles. The funding will be used to train Western Australian practitioners in roles, including production accounting, location management, production management, script supervision, grips and LX, and camera.
  • South Australian Film Corporation: Expanding the agency’s existing attachment scheme to double the length of roles from six to 12 weeks.
  • VicScreen: Supporting on the job training for key roles of acute screen industry need, such as digital games, film and TV, post-production and VFX companies, including an expansion of the Specialist Placement Program.