Wednesday 20 August 2014

I spent some of today out at Pinewood with Charotte Owttrim from Creative Skillset.

Charlotte runs the Creative Skillset Trainee Placement Scheme which provides trainee placements for all departments of the film industry. Aimed at people who have gained a good level of experience but are finding it hard to get their foot in the door, Skillset offers more than a stepping stone.

Support is offered for roughly a year, the idea being that by the end of their year candidates will have gained the experience they need to fill any gaps in their CV's.  As well as this practical training, the scheme offers a solid introduction to the environment within which they can make contacts and establish themselves in their departments thus providing them with the foothold they need.

 Today we were meeting the prospective candidates for the current intake. Charlotte has a great feel for CV's, she has analysed hundreds, if not thousands of them and there wasn't a single person in the final edit who we felt couldn't cope with the job. To have got this far, passing her sharp instincts to reach the final interview was a great achievement for each of them, regardless of the final outcome of their interviews.

The nurturing environment of Skillset also offers a cushion to strong but ultimately unsuccessful candidates. This is a sort of holding pool where future trainees are put through the induction days along with successful candidates but encouraged to gain a little more experience before they take up their place. This pool is for people whose potential is apparent but whose experience isn't quite there yet.

I really liked this idea of a holding pool because one or two applicants weren't quite ready to work as full-time members of the department but they were inspiring and deserving of the opportunity. Every bit as focused as the successful applicants they simply need a little more time before they take up their spot. I hope stalling their places for a few months will boost their confidence and provide them the impetus they need to get that final edge onto their CV's.

Over the last three years I have worked on many films which have used Skillset Trainees and I keep going back for more. Charlotte's stringent processing means I am always confident whoever she sends will be a great addition to our team, I have kept in touch and we have continued to employ many of them. We have especially enjoyed seeing our trainees grow in confidence and ability, heading towards being the people who will employ and train the next generation.