Pinewood Shepperton chief executive Ivan Dunleavy has warned of an impending skills shortage that he said could hit businesses in all sectors of the UK economy.

Speaking at the annual CBI (Confederation of British Industry) Conference today, Dunleavy said the lack of skills in roles ranging from craft through to high-end digital would be felt within 18 months.

He said: “The UK film industry is a thriving part of a thriving sector, delivering jobs, exports, a platform to promote Britain abroad - and a large flow of inward investment and revenue to the Exchequer.

“We mustn’t let this success be put at risk by failing to look ahead and seeing the dangers on the horizon from a skills shortage or in missed opportunities for our exports.

”We’re starting to bump into constraints that could put a crimp in our ability to take advantage of the huge opportunities we see out there in the future…the skills shortage won’t just affect us. It will affect every business represented in this hall.”

Dunleavy said that while Pinewood supported initiatives such as apprenticeship schemes and partnerships with a local college and the Open University, the government needed to do more to back training and apprenticeship schemes that provide practical business skills.

“The CBI is already doing good work here,” he said. “Its recent report – Creative Nation – stressed the need to ensure that new approaches to the apprenticeship system are applicable to the UK’s creative industries.

“This includes extending the Trailblazer pilots to include creative firms, and supporting genuine industry ownership over the content and scope of apprenticeship frameworks.

“But it’s no use government launching training initiatives if the outcomes are inadequate – and in some cases they are. This matters. We can’t risk a skills shortage starting to take the energy out of the recovery.”

Dunleavy also urged the government to secure further co-production treaties on audiovisual content with key emerging markets.

“Under this Business Secretary it’s encouraging that UKTI now recognises film as an export opportunity. But we need to ramp up the effort if we’re to turn that opportunity into something tangible that will allow us to sell more UK movies into the fast growing markets like China and other new economies.”