Looking at a film apprenticeship

Posted: 25th of March 2013 by Anonymous

Lights, camera, and … action!  NotGoingToUni looks into an apprenticeship in the film industry, what you can expect from yours, and where it could take you.  See you at the Oscars!

From those jerky, monochrome silent classics to tomorrow’s 3D CGI blockbusters – whether they go straight to Blu-Ray or not – the motion picture industry has been entertaining us with offerings great and/or gruesome for over a century … and doesn’t look like stopping any time soon.

And there’s more to any movie than just a hero, a leading lady, a villain and things that go bang, as you’ve no doubt seen, unless you’re the first to leave the cinema, or switch the TV off as the end credits start running.

So that means there’s any number of jobs that need doing to help bring a story to life on the silver screen … or a documentary or even a TV commercial, come to think of it.

You could be have a career in pre-production, production or post-production, and the best way to get the qualifications you need for that career, plus the right kind of training and that all-important work experience, would be with a film apprenticeship.

What to expect during your apprenticeship in the film industry

No matter who you serve your apprenticeship with – from a tiny independent film outfit to a multi megabuck multimedia conglomeration, you’ll start your training off at the very junior end of the scale.

This means you’ll be unpacking gear, perhaps helping to set it up and dismantle it … and then packing it back up again.

There will also be sandwiches to be fetched, hot drinks to be brewed, cables to be tidied, props to be sorted out and possibly the occasional primadonna to placate.

It’ll all be in a day’s work for you and most of the time, once you’ve been shown what to do, you could do it with your eyes shut.

But that would be a mistake.  Because while you’re doing all that grunt work, if you keep your eyes and ears wide open and in seriously receptive mode, you’ll be able to absorb all kinds of knowledge that’s going to be very useful to you later on – even though you won’t realise it at the time.

You’ll also, of course, be learning what to do and what not to do on and around the set, and other aspects of professional behaviour.

And the time will soon come when instead of watching other people doing what needs to be done, you’ll be doing it yourself with other people watching you, ready to give advice or lend a hand if you need one.

Whatever you’re doing at work, you’ll be going back to the classroom on a regular basis to learn more about the theory behind it, while working towards a nationally-recognised qualification.  You’ll also be studying towards relevant certifications to help you get your foot into the door of what is, after all, a very competitive industry.

Pay and prospects in a film apprenticeship

The minimum UK apprenticeship wage has been set at £2.65 an hour, but since it’s been shown that apprentices earn on average around £170 a week, it may well be that you could be earning that, too.

Whatever the size of your pay packet during the first year of your apprenticeship, the legal minimum wage for your second and subsequent years will be set at the national minimum wage for your age group … or higher.

Not so long ago, many people were put off applying for apprenticeships because apprentices had fewer employment rights than regular employees.

All that has changed now:  apprentices now enjoy exactly the same kind of rights and benefits as everybody else they’re working with.

This means you’re entitled to such things as paid sick leave and paid holidays, plus whatever perks come with the job like, say, a subsidised canteen.

Apprenticeships must now last for at least twelve months – by law – so that gives you and your employer lots of time to get to know each other.

So it’s up to you to shine throughout your apprenticeship, and not just because of the glowing references you’ll get.

In fact, now businesses of all kinds are seeing the wisdom in retaining their apprentices once their training is complete, it could happen to you.

After all, at the end of your apprenticeship you’ll have exactly the right kind of training, work experience and qualifications your employer would be looking for if they were to try and recruit a total stranger from outside.

And that can be an expensive and risky proposition – for who knows how honest a candidate has really been on their CV and at their interview, until it’s too late?

If you can impress your employer all through your apprenticeship with your willingness to go the extra mile and your ability to put what you’ve learned into practice, it could be you ending your apprenticeship on the Friday, and returning as a fully-fledged member of the team the following Monday.

For more details about a film apprenticeship, visit apprenticeshipvacancymatchingservice.lsc.gov.uk and look for “Film Apprentcie C045” (and yes, that’s how they spell it there!).

Additionally you can have a look at our jobs section and see the broadcasting apprenticeship vacancies available. 

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