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One of the things we are doing at DEGNZ at the moment in response to the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) that I wrote about two weeks ago, is to map the pathways for directors and editors into the industry.

For editors, we have already done a considerable amount of work in this area with the development of our Workflow Best Practice Guide and the Mandatory Skills and Advanced Skills Workshops for Assistant Editors, and the Assistant and Solo Editors Course. These programmes are a solid base that will inform our efforts to map pathways for editors.

For directors, there has been some debate internally at Guild board level about what directors need to know to step into the job from Day One. Different genres of content require different directorial skills. Factual, documentary, drama, TV commercials, corporate communications and marketing each require different approaches, but there are fundamentals that cross all. It’s defining these basics that we are in the processing of doing, both the theoretical and practical.

Back in the old days when there were no independent production companies, TVNZ or as it was known then the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, used to run what was essentially an apprenticeship programme internally. They would rotate the ‘apprentices’ through each of the departments, because in those days the organisation did all production internally—news, drama, factual, comedy, etc—essentially full time internships. After approximately two years of learning various crafts, the opportunity came to specialise, with individuals taking other specialist internal courses depending on their interest. Many of those over fifty five still in the industry learned their skills via this path, in disciplines including directing, editing, producing, camera, sound and others.

In the seventies and eighties when the first independent production companies formed, they became the training ground for new people into the industry, taking on those with the passion for production and giving them the skills they needed. At the same time, a few individuals identified the need for more formalised training, and so the film schools started up. They developed their own courses, got them NZQA certified or accredited, or not, started teaching and making money from doing so.

Meanwhile, the universities that had primarily been running academic degrees in film and media studies saw the need to provide more practical training as well, so brought practical filmmaking into their programmes.

These are essentially the pathways into the industry that exist today sans TVNZ: go to a film school or university, and or get an internship or job in the industry to get the coal-face experience you need. It’s a bit of a hodgepodge mess that is siloed, unfocused, multi-faceted and of varying quality. One highly experienced and knowledgeable person I spoke to with both screen industry and educational experience said to me that the screen industry had been its own worst enemy in developing career pathways for people coming in. There are now numerous efforts being made to address this, but it’s still somewhat siloed, working with a bureaucracy that doesn’t understand the unique nature of the screen industry, and incredibly complex.

Without a pan-sector body in existence (we are working on it), it has fallen to the screen guilds and associations to work with the educational entities and related bodies involved to try and get the best fit-for-purpose screen training we can. An all-important caveat in the new process is that only the screen industry can put forward the training pathways, content and standards that we require. Educational institutions may not do so.

If you have thoughts on this, whether you are a student, emerging, mid-career or highly experienced professional, please let us know at admin@degnz.co.nz. We want to provide the best information and guidance we can to ensure that the Reform of Vocational Education works for us into the future.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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The vocational education system for all industries is undergoing massive reform right now. It’s come at a time when the New Zealand screen industry has been suffering from a lack of experienced workers due to the high levels of domestic and international production going on in the country.

It has also brought to the fore concerns about the lack of real-world preparation of students by film schools and media courses at tertiary education facilities. The industry needs workers to hit the ground running and that’s just not happening with the current levels of haphazard training that’s going on.

In 2018, the Government launched the Education Work Programme. One of the four reviews undertaken was the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) tasked with undertaking structural change.

Six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) were established to assist with the structural change. The Screen Industry falls under Toi Mai, the WDC for Creative, Cultural, Recreation and Technology.

A small number of guilds including DEGNZ have together with WeCreate (former Copyright Council), the Council of Trade Unions and others been working to ensure that our WDC is getting the right input so that the resulting vocational education is fit-for-purpose for the screen industry. Recent appointments to Toi Mai reflect our efforts to have people with screen industry knowledge and experience involved:

  • Alice Shearman of the New Zealand Writers Guild as a screen union rep
  • Aliesha Staples, founder and CEO of Staples VR and a TVNZ board member
  • Annie Murray, Head of Sky Originals at Sky
  • Jana Rangooni, former General Manager Radio Live and Newsroom and Group Programme Director at Mediaworks
  • Rhonda Kite, previously owner of Kiwa Productions and audio post house Native Audio
  • Victoria Spackman, ex CEO of the Gibson Group

Right now, guilds and associations are mapping out career pathways to identify the skills needed for each individual role. Determinations will be made as to whether or not apprenticeships are suited to certain roles, while others may require trainees.

We will be involved in creating Skill Standards building to micro-credentials for new entrants coming into the industry. The overall outcome is to have a simple, efficient and appropriate vocational education delivered via the various educational providers. At the same time we seek an administration system that suits the very unique nature of project-based work that happens in the screen industry.

DEGNZ board member Annie Collins is now leading the work on behalf of DEGNZ, SPADA, SIGANZ, SMSG and NZWG, all of whom have been active in this space for the last two years or so. We are now going out to everyone in the screen industry to bring them up to speed with what’s happening.

RoVE is a massive undertaking that will impact on every industry in New Zealand. For the screen industry, we have undertaken this work so that it can develop and grow its capacity and capability to service productions well into the future with skilled workers who have the right education and training to make a positive contribution from Day One.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director