1. Strategy
  2. Our ambitions
  3. Developing long-term strategies for education and skills

Developing long-term strategies for education and skills

By 2033, we will have reframed the educational value of screen culture with policymakers, educators and parents, and supported a skilled and sustainable workforce that reflects the UK population.

Why now?

Education is key to our goal of deepening the public’s appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of screen culture.

The Government’s Opportunity For All white paper (2022) pledged quality education as a key step towards good jobs and happy families. We have a crucial role to play. We will promote the importance of screen literacy and advocate for the teaching of film and moving image as an expressive art and career. We will also support its use as an educational tool, and help equip educators to teach expertly and confidently.

We believe that the moving image is an essential part of a broad and varied national curriculum – but its formal recognition in curricula across the UK is not consistent. We believe that educating young people about screen culture will help them both interpret the world around them and make informed choices regarding their further education and careers. The Government’s upcoming Cultural Education Plan, due to be published in 2023, could be a first step in addressing this.

We welcome around 10,000 young people each year to BFI Southbank, and a similar number to events online and outside London. They engage in education events that respond to the changing demands of the curriculum, including Film and Media, Modern Foreign Languages, and primary school topics like the Second World War. Whilst this direct delivery model is popular, it is limited by the capacities of staff and venues; we have the ambition therefore to enable all 7 million children in the UK to access BFI programmes and collections at some point in their school careers.

Our digital strategy will be key to furnishing access to world-class learning materials. We want everyone of all ages to use them – including teachers, students and community educators. We have unrivalled assets that we will begin to unlock as part of our digital strategy. This includes many decades of programme notes, published articles, special collections, and thousands of hours of moving image.

We can also make better use of the unrivalled knowledge and experience held by our colleagues and networks of professionals. We will build on our partnership work, including with those we fund via BFI National Lottery programmes such as Into Film.

Alongside more formalised learning, we believe our cinemas are great places for everyone to discover something different. At BFI Southbank we run a highly popular reduced ticket price for young people aged 25 and under, and offer a reduced-price subscription on BFI Player.

These initiatives empower young people to engage with a broader range of screen culture. It inspires them to develop a more curious, risk-taking, and expansive approach, opening their eyes to diverse stories and new forms of creative expression. We can do more to help cinemas and venues across the UK widen access to their screenings.

Ultimately, we want people of all ages and backgrounds to realise the positive impact that consuming a more challenging, historic, and diverse screen culture can have in confronting prejudice. It can be hugely influential in growing human, social and cultural capital, and in contributing to health and well-being. Now is the time to redouble our commitment to lifelong learning through screen culture.

How we’ll do it

Over the next 10 years, we will work to improve the quality and availability of moving image education, and promote the positive benefits of a diverse screen culture.

Our goals are:

  • To make a compelling argument for screen culture to be reflected in the curriculum across the UK.
  • To build a positive reputation for screen culture amongst educators and parents. We will champion its impact on learning, creativity, well-being and cohesion.
  • To ensure teachers are equipped with the resources, confidence and skills to teach with film and the moving image across the UK.
  • To increase awareness of educational programmes and the use of resources. This will include those linked to the BFI National Archive and our wider cultural programme. It will also feature training and talent development opportunities such as the BFI Film Academy.
  • To ensure more members of the public access our lifelong learning programmes.
  • To welcome more families, children and young people aged 25 years and under visiting our venues and online platforms.

In the first three years we will:

  1. Publish a new education strategy that will use commissioned research and existing data to build the case for film and the moving image to be considered an essential part of the curriculum.
  2. Invest National Lottery funding to deliver learning and teaching resources. These will be drawn from contemporary screen culture and screen heritage collections that will inspire and engage young people. We will also support teachers and community educators to confidently teach with and about the moving image.
  3. Work with exhibition partners to ensure that cultural cinemas across the UK are accessible, affordable and welcoming spaces for young people.
  4. Partner with online video platforms where audiences and creators socialise, learn, share and are discovered. We will expand the channels through which people can access learning.


Why now?

By the end of this strategy in 2033 many of today’s primary school-aged children will be entering employment. Despite the prevalence of screens in daily life and the sector’s growing economic and industrial strength, it isn’t widely viewed as a viable career opportunity.

Of those surveyed within our Next Up consultation, only 24% believed work in the screen industries could be open to everyone. Similarly, over half of young people have never had relevant career advice.

This perceived non-viability of film careers significantly impacts the diversity of new joiners. Retention is another issue, with 65% of respondents to the Film and TV Charity’s 2021 survey having considered leaving the industry in the preceding year due to mental health concerns.

However, film and HETV production alone requires around 20,770 new full-time recruits by 2025. This equates to an annual training bill of £104.4m a year. So, it’s clear that an industry- wide effort is needed. We must work together to deliver the necessary skills, training and outreach; and to engender a greater focus on how to create healthy working practices.

In light of these significant challenges the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) commissioned the BFI to undertake a skills review, focusing on scripted film and high-end television physical production. This report captures the key skills challenges facing production, highlights existing approaches and initiatives that could be expanded or learned from, and sets out recommended actions to help inform a future strategy.

The BFI is uniquely placed to coordinate industry action, develop policy and evidence, and drive-up workforce standards. We can play an important role in promoting screen literacy, interpretation and understanding. We can also support teachers to champion the burgeoning potential of screen careers.

Over the past decade, the BFI Film Academy has provided UK-wide vocational training opportunities for over 10,000 young people aged between 16 and 25. It has helped them take their very first steps towards a screen industry career. This is supported by our year- round programme of online and in-venue Film Academy skills events – including the BFI Future Film Festival, the UK’s largest festival for young, emerging filmmakers. These programmes inspire and build industry knowledge for a further 15,000 young people annually.

Once in the industry, our BFI Diversity Standards and anti-bullying, anti-harassment and anti- racism guidance create safer, happier and more sustainable workplaces. Now is the time to build on this track record, and the insights we have gained in the BFI Skills Review for Film and High-End Television (HETV). We must support a more inclusive, harmonious and diverse industry.

How we’ll do it

We will create more training opportunities across the UK and work with government and industry to significantly expand awareness of careers and close the skills gap.

Our goals are:

  • To take an active role in shaping policy, make the case for greater investment in film and TV training, and produce data to better identify and address skills shortages.
  • To drive a reduction in the skills gap and labour shortage with a highly skilled and diverse workforce. We will track this through improved data collection and analysis.
  • To work with industry to deliver broader awareness of the wide variety of roles available in the screen sector.
  • To increase industry investment and ownership of training and skills development and negotiate an industry commitment of 1% of overall production spend towards UK-wide skills development.
  • To grow the number of people accessing careers information about the screen industries both online and in person, and to build recognition of the variety of screen career opportunities among parents and society at large.
  • To drive improvements in the diversity of the workforce.
  • To improve workforce retention by advocating for changes in working cultures and practices.

In the first three years, we will:

  1. Build regional partnerships in areas with ongoing production activity. We will use expert local knowledge to develop skills clusters to better identify and address regional skills gaps. These will promote and facilitate new training and entry- level opportunities and share best practices that improve retention.
  2. Build closer relationships between the education sector, industry and government to inform curricula and build broader awareness of careers. We will also identify structured placements and maximise access to Government and industry-funded training opportunities.
  3. Focus on helping under-represented groups access and develop their careers in the screen sectors. We will advocate for change, ensure positive working environments and fund targeted initiatives.
  4. Inspire young people to pursue creative careers through a network of willing advocates and role models, and by establishing a sustainable model for the BFI Film Academy programmes.