The two-year trial, called First Post, is a joint initiative between the PPTI (Post Production Training Initiative), Skillset, engineers from ChEFF and UK Post. It aims to address a skills shortage within traditional education streams and prepare entry-level staff for all aspects of the industry. It is due to start in October and will give up to 25 people the chance to do training modules alongside their normal jobs. Two years of training has been estimated to cost £10,000 per head.
A large chunk of the funding has been put forward by Creative London, a strand of the London Development Agency, but this will have to be matched by the London post industry in terms of cash or support. This "match-money" can be provided in kind, with companies offering time and services instead of cash.
The selection process to enter the scheme will be set by the end of August and will be open to all post houses in London. There are an estimated 150 runners currently learning on the job in Soho alone.
The number of trainees may increase within the two years should First Post prove to be successful. The intention is to extend the scheme to the regions, which is a move that is also dependent on funding.
First Post proposes issuing a skills passport to course delegates that will provide evidence of the modules that have been taken and the corresponding skills learnt. The course will teach technical, commercial and customer care skills.
"Post-production companies will be intrinsically involved in deciding the content of the course, so trainees will receive precisely the right blend of skills," explained Neil Hatton, PPTI member, Frontier Post managing director and recent addition to the UK post board.
Skillset is also looking at the scheme as a blueprint for other industries, such as animation, and costume and make-up.