ADD2349 Funding Creative Careers Film

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
12 June 2019
Decision by: 
Michelle Cuomo-Boorer, Assistant Director of Skills and Employment

Executive summary

This decision form requests the approval of expenditure to produce a film that promotes careers in the Creative Industries as part of the Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme and the Mayor’s Culture Strategy. The aim of the film is to ‘unpack the credits’, highlighting the range of jobs requiring digital skills within the visual effects industry.

This film will, in turn, be part of the GLA’s contribution to the national campaign, ’Creative Careers Programme‘, led by the ScreenSkills, Creative & Cultural Skills and the Creative Industries Federation to address the serious skills shortages facing the creative industries.

The expenditure will be funded from the £7m budget envelope for the Digital Talent Programme agreed by MD2040. The development and production of the film will be managed by the Culture Unit, and the budget will also be vired to the Culture Unit.


That the Assistant Director – Skills and Employment approves expenditure of up to £14,000, from the Digital Talent Programme budget, to fund the production of a film which will showcase the range of digital jobs in the creative sector.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Under MD2040, the Mayor approved a £7m investment to fund the Digital Talent Programme, a multi-stranded programme that aims to plug the growing digital skills shortage in London’s labour market with diverse ‘homegrown’ talent. The programme will do this by funding new industry-led vocational training in digital, technology and creative occupations.

The aims of the Digital Talent Programme are:

• To make an immediate impact on young Londoners of working age who want a job that requires digital skills;
• To increase the number of young women and young people from Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and disadvantaged backgrounds who are currently underrepresented in digitally-skilled occupations;
• To stimulate long-term collaboration between FE colleges, skills providers, Higher Education Institutions, secondary schools and employers of all sizes; and
• To ensure that employers have an improved pool of talent they can recruit from, helping to meet their growth aspirations that are currently hampered by skills shortages.

MD2040 allocated £300,000 revenue to invest in a coordinated and targeted campaign to direct young Londoners to careers advice and digital learning opportunities. So far, £154,000 has been spent on the social media campaign and other events (including the launch event and careers fair). The remailing balance of £146,000, will be used on a variety of promotional materials and further events targeting both learners and employers.

This decision seeks approval for expenditure of up to £14,000 of the balance be used to produce a film jointly commissioned by the Culture Unit and the Digital Talent Programme team. As digital skills are one of the critical requirements in creative roles, the film will enable us to ‘demystify’ and raise awareness of the wide spectrum of exciting jobs in the sector, and to attract young Londoners to take up the free training opportunities under the Digital Talent Programme.

Under Chapter 5, Policy 12 of the Mayor of London’s Culture Strategy, the Mayor has pledged to ‘help more Londoners get employment in the creative workforce’ by:

• Improving careers guidance and opportunities for creative careers through London Ambitions and the Mayor’s Enterprise Adviser Network;
• Making the creative industries a priority sector in the Skills for Londoners Strategy;
• Working with industry leaders, starting with the screen industries to develop a screen talent and diversity action plan; and
• Increasing digital skills for the creative industries through the Digital Talent Scheme, especially for young women and Londoners from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Culture Strategy recognises the importance of ensuring that London’s creative workforce reflects the diversity of Londoners. London is now a world leader in visual effects with London-based companies winning Oscars for films such as Gravity, Interstellar and Ex Machina. From Game of Thrones to Star Wars, London’s talent and world-renowned digital skills are in extremely high demand.

At the same time, research from the Work Foundation has found that the UK’s film industry – three quarters of which is based in London – needs 10,000 people over the next five years to maintain its world-leading position. Demand for UK production from overseas film and high-end television producers continues to grow as a result of the UK’s highly-skilled talent alongside attractive fiscal incentives such as the film and high-end TV tax reliefs. If London does not meet this demand for skills, ranging from accountancy to carpentry, overseas producers will take productions to other cities such as Toronto or countries such as Hungary with a loss in reputation, jobs and growth.

The film industry also needs more diversity to prevent a skills shortage. This means opening up job opportunities to greater numbers of people; shining a spotlight on the range of opportunities available and inspiring the next generation of creative employees.

The Culture Unit is in discussions with major organisations across different cultural sectors to create a series of three short films that highlight the range of jobs in the creative industries. This includes a film that focuses on visual effects within a major TV or film production, and this will be part of a wider suite of films across different creative sectors including fashion and theatre.

Alongside each film, the Culture Unit will work with the Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme and other teams in the GLA (e.g. Education Team) to explore the feasibility of creating a package alongside the films e.g. teaching resources or job opportunities.

Digital skills are one of the key priorities outlined in both the Skills for Londoners Strategy, as well as the Culture Strategy. This joint project will be a good example of collaborative working amongst different GLA teams on a shared objective.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The films will form part of the GLA’s contribution to the Government’s National Creative Careers Programme. This is an industry-designed initiative led by ScreenSkills, Creative & Cultural Skills and the Creative Industries Federation to raise opportunities for work across the creative economy. This was a commitment by Government and industry through the Creative Industries Sector Deal.

Through the programme, around 2 million young people will be able to access better advice about pursuing a career, with leading organisations and individuals from across the creative industries engaging with more than 160,000 school-age students by March 2020.

The expected outputs and outcomes of the film project:

• To raise awareness of career opportunities across the creative economy;
• To ensure that there is a larger and more diverse intake of young people into the sector; and
• To address serious skills gaps and help to cultivate a workforce that is fit for the future.

The Culture Unit is in further conversation with industry contacts to procure a film production company to work with the industry to make a suite of films such as:

• A film that unlocks the jobs across different sub-sectors of the fashion industry – in partnership with British Fashion Council;
• A film detailing the jobs that make a major West End theatre production; and
• A film that unpacks the visual effects (VFX) jobs of a major light entertainment television production.

The Culture Unit is developing a distribution strategy for the suite of films that will aim to use the film and TV’s industry’s own networks and social media to achieve social media cut through, and that can be used by London Enterprise Advisers to inspire young people.

The Digital Talent Programme team will work closely with the Culture Unit to develop and publish the brief in July 2019. The production of the film will be managed by the Culture Unit, in consultation with the Digital Talent Programme team, and the film is expected to be launched in November 2019. Both teams will jointly identify the key performance indicators to evaluate the success of this project.

Equality comments

London’s economy is becoming increasingly digital and requires a workforce with a new set of skills. The Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme will inspire and prepare more young Londoners (16 – 24 years old) for the digitally-skilled occupations needed by all sectors of the economy. Critically, it will have a strong focus on addressing the under-representation of women and BAME Londoners in the tech workforce and will develop ‘homegrown’ talent, tackling high rates of youth unemployment in London.

The Mayor is committed to turning around the under representation of women in the digital work force and the development of a tech talent pipeline to support London’s digital economy. This film will be a key part of a wider marketing campaign that will engage and inspire under-represented groups to develop their digital skills and find employment in digitally-skilled occupations. We will ensure that the film production company we contract are aware of our equality obligations. Culture Unit will also explore opportunities to place trainees on the film production to give diverse Londoners work experience.

Other considerations

Risks and Mitigation

Key risks associated with this proposal are:

• The film fails to reach the target groups or effectively address project priorities. Mitigation: A marketing campaign will be developed to ensure effective and meaningful distribution of the film with our key partners and contacts. In addition, the Culture Unit will utilise their industry networks to ensure the film has a bigger reach with our intended core audiences.
• The Culture Unit is unable to secure partnerships with their chosen industry contacts. Mitigation: The Culture Unit will identify suitable alternative organisations with a similar ethos to produce high quality films.

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The Digital Talent Programme fits within the Skills for Londoners strategy; improving digital skills provision is identified as a key mayoral priority.

This programme also aligns with the Smarter London Together roadmap, which sets out the Mayor’s plan to make London into the smartest city in the world, including a commitment to increasing diversity in the tech sector.

Financial comments

The cost of up to £14,000 for this project will be funded from the 2019-20 Digital Talent revenue budget held within the Skills and Employment Unit and approved in whole by MD2040.

Activity table



Finalise brief

July 2019

Procurement of production company

August 2019

Shooting begins

September 2019

Editing of film

October 2019

Launch of film

November 2019

Distribution begins with industry

November 2019

Distribution begins within education and public bodies

November 2019

Delivery End Date

March 2020

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