For a burgeoning Australian film industry that will be in need of talent, a new public-private partnership with streaming services and production giant Netflix promises to boost skills and local involvement in Northern NSW.
Netflix, Screenworks and the NSW Government are partnering to provide free training for up-and-coming creatives looking to make their start in the screen industry, as well as crew referral services to make sure more local professionals are employed in the industry across regional Australia.
Delivered by Ballina, NSW-based NGO Screenworks and with a $500,000 investment from Netflix along with support from the state government, the Regional Crew Development Program will provide placements and work experience on real productions with the goal of creating new career pathways in the field for regional people.
"We're very excited by the opportunity to deliver this pilot targeted skills program in Northern New South Wales," says Screenworks chief executive Ken Crouch.
"For over 20 years Screenworks has been supporting and developing the screen industry and talent in this region and this program will provide a substantial boost to our efforts to address key skills gaps.
"We anticipate this initial three-year pilot project will be a springboard for rolling out similar programs across regional Australia."
Netflix director of studio & production Affairs, APAC, Deb Richards, says the investment is part of Netflix's ongoing efforts to support the local screen industry's growth.
"Australia's content production ecosystem has a fantastic reputation, but it's essential that the industry is creating a pipeline of up-and-coming, skilled professionals to service this production boom, especially in the regions," Richards says.
"We've entered into this new partnership to ensure people in regional Australia, particularly those from diverse or underrepresented backgrounds, can share the benefit of the increasing production activity and employment opportunities, and to ensure a positive impact in their communities for many years to come."
NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee says the program will offer fully-subsidised and tailored traineeships in a Certificate III in Screen & Media, hands-on workshops with industry and part- qualifications in specialised skillsets funded under NSW JobTrainer.
"A pilot program will commence in Northern NSW initially, to capitalise on the jobs that will be created by the Byron Studios and proposed Pacific Bay Studios in Coffs Harbour," Lee says.
"This partnership will directly address crewing skills gaps that have been identified in the region including for roles such as camera and light operators, production accountants and location managers."
Minister for Arts Don Harwin commends the partnership and encourages locals in Northern NSW to apply for the program.
"The NSW Government through Screen NSW has supported Screenworks for many years, as they continue to provide this suite of unmatched career opportunities for emerging filmmakers in the Northern Rivers region and beyond," Harwin says.
"I am delighted that Netflix has chosen to join forces with Screenworks to deliver these tailored traineeships, which I know will ensure that regional voices are front and centre in the screen industry, and I encourage all aspiring filmmakers and screen creatives in Northern NSW to apply."
The program is made up of three key components:
- Regional Crew Development Traineeships: 12-month, fully paid and contracted entry-level trainee positions which will include Certificate III in Screen & Media qualifications and practical experience on local productions.
- Regional Crew Development Targeted Skill Set Training: A short-form skill set training program delivered in partnership with the NSW Department of Training, which will address identified existing skills gaps in the local screen industry and opportunities linked to in-bound productions. The training will also facilitate transition into the screen industry for workers with transferable skills, and will be delivered to a minimum of 50 candidates.
- Locations and Crew Referral Services: Funding of Screenworks' locations and crew referral services in order to increase the number of local practitioners being employed on productions taking place in the Northern New South Wales region as well as more widely across regional Australia.
Netflix Indigenous scholarship fund
Today's news follows an announcement in late June that the multinational would provide $515,000 to the Netflix Indigenous Scholarship Fund, providing a range of initiatives to elevate Indigenous creatives and voices in the Australian screen and broadcast industries.
AFTRS will administer the scholarship working with community stakeholders and partners to identify, train and guide a new and ongoing generation of Indigenous screen and broadcast professionals.
AFTRS’ administration of the scholarship will be guided by the principles of the School’s First Nations strategy, led by the director of first nations and outreach, Dr Romaine Moreton. AFTRS’ commitment to the embedding of First Nations values throughout the school will be paramount to the authentic and effective implementation of this scholarship.
AFTRS will convene a selection panel chaired by AFTRS Council member Tanya Hosch, which will include representatives from Netflix and Indigenous leaders from several educational institutions to ensure fellowship funds are best allocated to support Indigenous talent and communities across the country.
"AFTRS is passionate about providing the highest quality learning experiences to people across the country and couldn’t be more excited to partner with Netflix on this initiative," Hosch said at the time.
"Guided by the expertise of AFTRS First Nations leaders, this very generous scholarship fund from Netflix has the potential to transform both individual careers and improve the inclusion and cultural capacity of our industry.
"The offering of scholarships, fellowships and training will also give First Nations peoples the option of learning on Country and create opportunities for AFTRS to respond to the challenges of designing new and innovative ways of teaching, learning, and training with and within First Nations communities."
Moreton described the fund as a great opportunity to to work with First Nations communities to support and develop their media-making capacities.
"It will create pathways into industry, driven by First Nations values that are self-determining, advance Indigenous cultural revitalisation practices and promote storytelling autonomy," she said.
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