Centennial, Fanshawe & Seneca collaborate to address screen industries skills shortage

Students featured in the POV Film: 2021 Impact Video (povfilm.org)

Fanshawe, Seneca and Centennial College are collaborating on a new set of microcredential courses to address the skills shortage in Ontario’s screen-based industries as the province’s production sector continues to ride the wave of demand for streaming content.

The suite of eight short programs are designed to help industry professionals upskill and current students learn additional in-demand production and technology skills.

To be offered both online and in-person, among the courses offered will be Grip/Lighting and Television and Film Production Accounting Basic Skills at Centennial; Location SoundPrevisualization and Virtual Production – Unreal at Fanshawe; and Media Organization for Unscripted TV AvidOutput and Delivery for Unscripted TV – Avid and Virtual Production – Unity at Seneca.

(povfilm.org)

“Drawing on the collective resources of our three colleges was essential in developing this diverse package of microcredentials, aimed at upskilling the workforce for the film and television industries,” said Rob Carver, Associate Dean, School of Contemporary Media, Fanshawe, in an announcement. “With production booming in Toronto, this training will provide much needed talent development to address labour shortages and prepare workers for new opportunities in this rapidly changing field.”

With film and television production at record levels in Ontario, employers are reporting difficulty finding enough qualified workers with up-to-date skills in industry-standard technologies.

A 2021 Toronto Screen Industry Workforce Study Report, produced by Nordicity for the City of Toronto, found the GTA has fielded “extraordinary demand for production infrastructure and talent,” affirming that over the previous six years the city “has exhibited clear-cut trends toward increased (foreign) service production and TV series production, both in terms of share and overall volume.”

“Taken together, these points suggest that producers, especially domestic ones, are being crowded out of the Toronto production market given limitations on the production space and talent available to them,” it asserted, adding that COVID-19 and the work from home/virtual studio model had exacerbated the skills shortage by hampering on-the-job training and learning opportunities.

Nordicity estimated that 25,400 individual workers (measured in union member equivalents) worked on live action film and TV projects, alone, in Toronto in 2019. Among the positions the report identified for skills shortages were production accountants, grips, general construction and art department labour, drivers, and hair/makeup talent, in addition to various roles in VFX, animation, and post-production.

The post-secondary collaboration is being developed with funding from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities’ Challenge Fund and the support of industry partners AvidThe Stratagem Group and Unity. Also partnering on the project is media training program, POV, which will help members of equity-deserving groups access the microcredentials to further diversify representation in the sector.

“This suite of microcredentials gives students a real advantage in developing the skills that will lead them to employment in Ontario’s screen-based industries. We’re working with industry leaders to offer training on the platforms and technologies that are being used in film and television right now, meaning graduates of these courses will emerge ready to immediately join the workforce,” added Kurt Muller, Dean, Faculty of Communication, Art and Design, Seneca.


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