Just two weeks ahead of the start of the government’s Apprenticeship Levy scheme, there are no accredited post-production apprenticeship courses and no framework to help create them, Broadcast has learned.
Despite the imminent launch and potential benefits, UK Screen Alliance chief executive Neil Hatton has noted a general apathy in the sector.
He said: “A number of large employers have not understood, and still do not appreciate, just how much they will be paying from April.
“Some haven’t budgeted for it at all. And many of the small non-Levy-paying companies are not aware that there is money on the table for them to pay for a large part of their training costs.”
From 6 April, all employers in England with a wage bill of at least £3m will be required to pay 0.5% of their wage bill into a fund that they can then access to cover the cost of apprenticeship training from a government-approved training provider.
Employers with payrolls under £3m do not pay the levy but are entitled to have 90% of their apprenticeship training costs paid when using accredited courses.
Outside broadcast engineer and junior visual effects artist schemes are among the 17 being developed for the technology and facilities market, but a UK Screen Alliance-authored Expression Of Interest for a post-production technical operator is not complete and is yet to be sent to the Institute for Apprenticeships for ratification.
At the same time, the creation of a 10-company industry trailblazers group - which is required as part of the government’s stipulations for apprenticeship course standards development - has been delayed after several post fi rms dropped out.
A lead employer within the trailblazers group is also still to be identified.
Hatton said that a post apprenticeship could be “off the blocks quite quickly”, but it needs financial help, additional expertise and buy-in from the post sector.
“Personally, I think it is about time that Creative Skillset helped out,” he said.
“They should find some funds to help create the Apprenticeships standards.
“The colleges could help too. They could provide us with knowledge and expertise to develop the assessment plans. We need people with educational experience to help us navigate through what is not our natural territory.”
Asked why forming the trailblazers group was proving so difficult, he said: “Employers are worried about the commitment required, not just in terms of their time and money to develop the standards, but also in respect of the number of apprentices they need to pledge to take on.
“There are others that believe their own in-house training is sufficient.
“Our aim is to create standards that enable apprentices to have a deeper understanding of the theory behind the software applications and not just to tell them which buttons to press.”