Strong col­la­bo­ra­ti­on to address skills shortage

The Media Coll­ec­ti­ve trai­ning net­work is com­mit­ted to deve­lo­ping new pro­fes­sio­nal trai­ning pro­gram­mes for the audio­vi­su­al indus­try throug­hout Germany.

They are miss­ing - from all sides, skil­led workers. And their much-cited shorta­ge has also exis­ted in the audio­vi­su­al indus­try for some time. It’s not only the demo­gra­phic chan­ge that’s lea­ving gaps. The strea­ming pro­duc­tions, which have been domi­na­ting the mar­ket for the past five to six years, have trig­ge­red a boom in pro­duc­tion and are com­mit­ting skil­led workers for a lon­ger peri­od to TV or cine­ma pro­duc­tions. In addi­ti­on, the­re is an exodus to other indus­tries. Fewer peo­p­le ans­we­ring job vacan­ci­es, and a lack of young talent in posi­ti­ons such as pro­duc­tion accoun­tant, line pro­du­cer, assistant direc­tor or pro­duc­tion mana­ger are alre­a­dy having an impact. This is shown by a nati­on­wi­de stu­dy published in Octo­ber by “Media Coll­ec­ti­ve - Der Wei­ter­bil­dungs­ver­bund Medi­en”. The net­work - based at the Erich Pom­mer Insti­tut (EPI) and fun­ded by the Fede­ral Minis­try of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) - is taking steps to con­nect indus­try play­ers with one ano­ther and deve­lop more focu­sed trai­ning pro­gram­mes to meet the industry’s needs.

Increased pres­su­re of work and lowe­ring of qua­li­ty standards

The dif­fi­cul­ties in fil­ling posi­ti­ons affect almost all of the posi­ti­ons in audio­vi­su­al pro­duc­tion. 88% of the com­pa­nies inter­view­ed for the stu­dy repor­ted an increased pres­su­re of work due to the lack of per­son­nel. 77% of the film­ma­kers them­sel­ves also com­plai­ned about psy­cho­lo­gi­cal stress as well as work pres­su­re, but. And almost every second com­pa­ny repor­ted rising pro­duc­tion cos­ts and the lowe­ring of qua­li­ty stan­dards due to insuf­fi­ci­ent personnel.

The Media Coll­ec­ti­ve trai­ning net­work was set up at the Erich Pom­mer Insti­tut (EPI) after the issue had alre­a­dy been dis­cus­sed the­re for seve­ral years by peo­p­le working in the indus­try. A round­ta­ble of the lea­ding Ger­man film pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies was con­ve­ned to dis­cuss such ques­ti­ons as “What is nee­ded?” and “What can we do?”. The resul­ting ide­as and con­cepts are now being deve­lo­ped within the network’s working groups, and the EPI has sin­ce recei­ved natio­nal fun­ding in order to ser­ve as the network’s pro­ject manager.

It is important for CEO Phil­ipp Künst­le that Media Coll­ec­ti­ve is regard­ed as an over­ar­ching, non-pro­fit pro­ject that is inde­pen­dent of the EPI’s other pro­gram­mes. “We are working tog­e­ther with all of the Län­der and are in an ongo­ing dia­lo­gue with com­pa­nies and insti­tu­ti­ons to see whe­re the needs are now that have to be met and how we can sup­port this.”

New care­er paths through tar­ge­ted trai­ning programmes

Künst­le cites the con­cept of the dual sys­tem of trai­ning - usual­ly desi­gned in the form of com­pact, inten­si­ve cour­ses - as being an important lever. They enable film­ma­kers to embark on the next steps in their care­ers. The big chall­enge is to train up peo­p­le more quick­ly for posi­ti­ons that often requi­re ten years of pro­fes­sio­nal expe­ri­ence. Fur­ther edu­ca­ti­on can be a way of sol­ving the pro­blem. It also crea­tes lower bar­riers to ent­ry and prepa­re tho­se inte­res­ted from other indus­tries for making a change. 

Deni­se Grdus­zak is the pro­ject mana­ger for the trai­ning net­work and explains the next steps. Working groups each with a dif­fe­rent focus were estab­lished. One group with a focus on poli­ti­cal com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on is pro­mo­ting the visi­bi­li­ty of the issues in the poli­ti­cal are­na and taking char­ge of attrac­ting fun­ding, while ano­ther working group is deal­ing spe­ci­fi­cal­ly with pro­fes­sio­nal trai­ning in the regi­on and moni­to­ring the skills needs of indi­vi­du­al com­pa­nies in order to take the next step and devi­se trai­ning pro­gram­mes that spe­ci­fi­cal­ly address the iden­ti­fied needs. “It is a ques­ti­on here of see­ing the regi­on and the com­pa­nies as a com­mu­ni­ty and put­ting a focus on coor­di­na­ted coope­ra­ti­on,” Grdus­zak says.

A working group is also loo­king at the job pro­files in the indus­try. Up until now, the­re hadn’t been any uni­form stan­dards. Uni­ver­si­ties train peo­p­le accor­ding to dif­fe­rent cri­te­ria; moreo­ver, the­re are various kinds of app­ren­ti­ce­ships and “trai­ning on-the-job” pro­gram­mes. What does a per­son have to be able to do - what social skills and know-how should they pos­sess? The work of the net­work will result at best in a pre-for­mu­la­ted cata­lo­gue of skills nee­ded for the occu­pa­tio­nal pro­files and one on which the sec­tor can ide­al­ly agree on a natio­nal level - a check­list as a basis for more uni­form pro­fes­sio­nal qualifications.

Skills for the future

“At the moment, a lot of new things are emer­ging with AR, VR, digi­tal pro­duc­tion. Work pro­ces­ses are shif­ting from post-pro­duc­tion to pre­pro­duc­tion. Cer­tain skills are now nee­ded much ear­lier on the set, and other skills are ones we’ve ten­ded to see as being at home in the games sec­tor - that’s why we think in terms of skills,” Künst­le says. 

In order to coun­ter the shorta­ge of skil­led workers, it’s important for the net­work to act on a natio­nal level and to crea­te low ent­ry bar­riers for care­er chan­gers. After all, the­re is an inte­rest in the audio­vi­su­al indus­try, as can be seen, for exam­p­le, in pilot pro­jects in Ham­burg and Hes­se, accor­ding to Grdus­zak. In Ham­burg, for exam­p­le, the “Get on Set” trai­nee pro­gram­me works tog­e­ther with part­ner com­pa­nies to offer trai­ning for various film pro­fes­si­ons, from pro­duc­tion accoun­tant through pro­duc­tion manage­ment to assistant direc­tor, sound, props, make-up, cos­tu­me or post-pro­duc­tion. The “Hes­sen Steps” pro­gram­me was laun­ched in Hes­sen using edu­ca­ti­on vou­ch­ers to cover the cos­ts of fur­ther edu­ca­ti­on for care­er chan­gers, pro­vi­de finan­cial sup­port for trai­nee­ships at com­pa­nies, and sup­port up-and-coming screen­wri­ters in deve­lo­ping of new film sto­ry ideas.

As part of the Media­Tech Hub, EPI and Media Coll­ec­ti­ve are imme­dia­te neigh­bours of the Hub manage­ment. The team is curr­ent­ly working from Babels­berg on estab­li­shing the net­work on a natio­nal level. At the same time, it is con­cen­t­ra­ting on pro­gram­mes that are loca­ted in the regi­on. Media Coll­ec­ti­ve is curr­ent­ly wan­ting to find media com­pa­nies in Ber­lin and Bran­den­burg who will offer trai­nee­ships pro­vi­ding on-the-job trai­ning and onboar­ding pro­gram­mes for care­er chan­gers and care­er break retur­ners in clo­se coope­ra­ti­on with the network.

Lea­ding com­pa­nies and insti­tu­ti­ons such as the Bun­des­ver­band Pro­duk­ti­on, the Film Uni­ver­si­ty Babels­berg KON­RAD WOLF, the Inves­ti­ti­ons­bank des Lan­des Bran­den­burg (ILB), media:net ber­lin­bran­den­burg, Medi­en­board Ber­lin-Bran­den­burg, Net­flix, PAIQ Pro­du­zen­ten­al­li­anz Initia­ti­ve für Qua­li­fi­ka­ti­on, REAL FILM, Rund­funk Ber­lin-Bran­den­burg, Stu­dio Babels­berg, UFA GmbH, we are era and the Eco­no­mic Deve­lo­p­ment Agen­cy Bran­den­burg are alre­a­dy par­ti­ci­pa­ting in Media Collective’s net­work.

Pho­to: Vadim Tash­baev on Pixabay

About MTH Blog

The media technologies of the future are already being used today – not only in the entertainment sector, but also in a wide variety of industries. Christine Lentz meets up with tech enthusiasts, established companies and researchers for our monthly MediaTech Hub Potsdam blog to tell the stories behind the innovative business models.