UK Government

Department for Culture, Media And Sport: Film Minister launches Pinewood apprenticeship scheme

Press Release   •   Feb 08, 2010 11:36 GMT

A new apprenticeship scheme designed to give young people a start in the UK’s thriving film industry was launched at Pinewood Studios by film Minister Siôn Simon today.

The 10 new apprentices join 12 others already working at the Pinewood Studio Group on a separate scheme run by Skillset, the organisation responsible for skills and training in the creative media industries.

All of these posts will contribute to an ambition of 5,000 apprenticeships in the creative industries a year by 2013, a key pledge from the Government’s Creative Britain report.

Mr Simon met drapes apprentice Sam Healey, one of the first 10 apprentices to start under the new Pinewood scheme.  Drapesmasters are responsible for the production and installation of all soft furnishings on film sets, which can involve anything from a velvet cushion to a hot air balloon.

Siôn Simon said:

“The film industry can be incredibly tough to break into, but Pinewood’s apprenticeship scheme is a welcome route into this exciting and highly creative industry.
“Sam and the other apprentices I met today are employed for their ability and potential, and I am sure they will do extremely well.  Pinewood Studios is working hard to address any skills gaps while providing a great start for some enthusiastic young people.”

The Minister also met four Skillset Set Craft Apprentices currently working on the new Harry Potter film.  This is the second year of this highly successful apprenticeship scheme which gives opportunities for emerging talent to work on the sets of some of Pinewood’s biggest productions, including Harry Potter, James Bond, Batman and the forthcoming John Carter of Mars.

Ivan Dunleavy, Chief Executive at Pinewood Studios commented:

“The UK’s creative sector is one of the best in the world and its success is dependent on the talent and skills of the people working within it. Pinewood’s apprenticeship scheme demonstrates the Group’s ongoing investment in the skills and infrastructure that is essential to the future of the UK’s creative industries.”

Mr Simon also took a firsthand look at Pinewood’s globally unique facilities including its Underwater Stage and Post Production department. He ventured behind the scenes to discover the technical and craft skills integral to filmmaking and visited a range of companies based on the Pinewood lot that work in the creative industries.

Notes to Editors

1. The Pinewood scheme runs for two years in collaboration with Aylesbury College.  The apprenticeships – one in drapes and nine in business roles - combine work and training with an NVQ level 2&3 qualification. 

2. Drapesmasters oversee the production and installation of all curtains, carpets, blinds and upholstered furniture used to dress sets, as well as any livery interiors of vehicles and boats that feature in films. Drapery, such a floor cloths (on which all set flooring is laid), or scenic backing (on which Scenic Artists paint backgrounds), is used to provide the "skeleton" of each set.

3. Skillset is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the creative media industries, which comprises TV, film, radio, interactive media, animation, computer games, facilities, photo imaging and publishing. 

4. Skillset, Pinewood and the Skillset Screen Academy at the London College of Communication (LCC) and the Ealing Institute of Media (EIM) have partnered to deliver advanced training schemes like Set Crafts Apprenticeships.

5. Skillset research identified an ageing workforce in Set Crafts and an urgent need to have new entrants that they could learn their skills working alongside experienced professionals. The Set Craft Apprenticeship Scheme trains new entrants from diverse backgrounds in carpentry, painting and decorating or fibrous plastering and will enable them to become highly skilled craftspeople in film set construction.

6. Comprising Pinewood, Shepperton and Teddington Studios, the Pinewood Studios Group is Europe's leading film and television facilities.  The Studios incorporate 34 stages, one of Europe's largest exterior water tanks, a globally unique underwater filming stage, 10 digital television studios, post production services, a selection of backlots and a wealth of media specialists on site.


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