Since announcing our Regional Crew Development Program on Monday, Screenworks’ CEO Ken Crouch has been asked a number of questions about why this project is important for Northern NSW and regional Australia. Find out why he believes this program will make a difference.

In short, our new program is about getting more locals employed on productions and maximising the economic benefits when productions come to regional Australia. It will address skills shortages for a number of key roles in the industry that we are experiencing across Australia, especially in Northern NSW. Screenworks will also provide traineeships for young people which otherwise wouldn’t exist, especially for those from underrepresented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds.

We have seen a number of productions come through the Northern NSW region where I believe more jobs should have been filled by local people. This has also happened when productions have gone to other regional areas of Australia. 

That’s why part of this project will focus on our crew referral service so that it is better resourced to get more locals employed on regional productions. The location attraction service will similarly be better resourced so that we can attract a pipeline of regional productions that will generate the jobs in the first place. Neither of these services have been well funded or resourced in the past – this project will change that.

When productions have come to Northern NSW over the past few years, there have been a number of roles that locals have been unable to fill due to lack of skills or training in these areas. This is being experienced across Australia as demonstrated by a Screen Producers Australia survey released on 26 April 2021 showing that 80% of producers are facing problems with recruiting suitably skilled crew for a number of roles.  

The targeted skill set training which will be delivered under our project will address the skills gaps that we’re experiencing for those specific roles in Northern NSW and across regional Australia. By providing them free of charge, we will ensure there are no financial barriers for people to take advantage of this training.

Finally, the 12-month paid traineeships will provide opportunities for young people in the region to start a career in the industry, especially those people who may not have the resources or means to pursue tertiary education training. Each trainee will include Certificate III training at TAFE NSW backed up by real industry experience. 

Without our new program, these opportunities would otherwise never be available in our region and young people from underrepresented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds will continue to be challenged and unable to get started in the industry. 

This is a really exciting opportunity for Screenworks and for the screen industry in Northern NSW and across regional Australia. We will be piloting this program in Northern NSW before looking at how to scale up the program in other regional areas. 

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