The South Australian Screen Industry Workforce Development Strategy delivers a comprehensive plan for the state’s screen sector to attract, retain, train and sustain a pipeline of skilled talent across the broad spectrum of screen production, including live-action, animation, XR, game development, post-production and visual effects.

South Australia has experienced significant growth in screen production levels in recent years, with Screen Australia’s National Drama Report reporting a total of $144 million spent in the state on drama production and post-production in 2021/22 – the state’s second highest year on record. In response, South Australia’s screen workforce has more than tripled in the six years to 2020, supporting 2,297 FTE jobs.

The South Australian Screen Industry Workforce Strategy is designed for industry, education, and government to work collaboratively to address skills shortages in the immediate, medium and long term and prepare for future industry needs and growth. Underpinning the strategy is the link between workforce development and a continuing pipeline of quality production in the state.

The release of the strategy follows recent successful workforce development initiatives already put in place by the SAFC, including:

  • The pilot of Australia’s first screen sector micro credential training program Skilling SA, supported by the State Government through the former Department for Innovation and Skills (DIS),
  • The expansion of the agency’s Professional Crew Attachments and Targeted Diversity Attachments schemes with funding from Screen Australia to double on-set placements from six to 12 weeks,
  • The Channel 44 First Nations Internship Program providing hands-on training and mentoring for emerging First Nations screen creatives.

Arts Minister Andrea Michaels said: “The South Australian screen industry boasts a 50-year track record of excellence and innovation and I congratulate the SAFC on their leadership in creating an environment for growth into the future.

“We know that for every four screen jobs in South Australia another three jobs are supported elsewhere in the economy in areas such as construction, hospitality, transport and logistics and retail – so supporting the screen sector to thrive results in increased economic benefit for all South Australians. A thriving screen industry holds significant creative, cultural and economic benefits for the whole state, and creating the conditions for growth will ensure that continues for another 50 years and more.”

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said: “The unprecedented surge in screen production globally and domestically in Australia has created an amazing opportunity for South Australia which means that ensuring availability of skilled, experienced screen production talent is more critical than ever. Addressing and overcoming South Australia’s screen workforce gaps is key to securing and growing our stake in this thriving market.

“We recognise the extraordinary achievements of South Australian screen industry professionals and our world-leading screen production, post-production, visual effects, animation and game development companies who are working at the highest levels. Our aim has been to enhance what is already working well and provide recommendations that respond to industry needs.

“The SAFC is proud to coordinate this new joint strategy with our partners to increase South Australia’s screen workforce capacity and future-proof our industry. The SA Screen Industry Workforce Development Strategy, in conjunction with attractive State Government incentives and a sophisticated screen ecosystem, will provide the opportunity for South Australia to capitalise on a surge in global and domestic screen production.”

The SA Screen Industry Workforce Development Strategy was developed over a 12-month consultation process with a wide range of stakeholders from education institutions and training providers, industry guilds, industry partners and representatives from the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), the Department for Education, and the South Australian Skills Commission. It was also guided by two independent industry working groups, the SAFC’s Screen Production Taskforce and the Games, Animation, Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects Taskforce.

A key element of the multi-pronged strategy is industry-driven initiatives such as the highly successful Hands On TV production training program, led by Adelaide’s Breakout Productions and supported by DIIS, which provides early to mid-career crew with paid, on-the-job training.

Breakout Productions Managing Director and member of the Screen Production Taskforce Colin Thrupp said: “Programs such as Hands On TV form an important part of the picture for opportunity, growth and diversification for South Australian screen creatives and provide crucial training in under-served areas such as factual and unscripted TV production.

“The first round of the program has already produced eight graduates who have learned on-the-job skills working on our factual series Aussie Snake Wranglers Season 3 for National Geographic, which is broadcast globally, many of whom have gone on to further work with Breakout on our ongoing slate of productions and elsewhere in the industry. Our next set of participants are currently in production on our six-part factual shark series, Super Shark Highway for Love Nature, which will also earn them an all-important television credit.”

South Australian screen industry members have welcomed the new strategy, saying the multi-pronged approach across government, education and industry is essential to drive growth in the sector.

Emmy Award winning South Australian producer and member of the Screen Production Taskforce Kirsty Stark said: “With the fantastic growth in local production in recent years, as well as continued interest in South Australia as a filming location for interstate and international projects, it’s great to see a committed approach to the development of our screen industry workforce through the Strategy. With coordinated input from government, industry and education via the SAFC, the proactive measures to reduce skills gaps and address ongoing needs should ensure a strong future for the South Australian screen industry.”

Rising Sun Pictures Co-Founder and Managing Director and member of the Games, Animation and PDV Taskforce Tony Clark said: “Rising Sun Pictures’ multi-year partnership with UniSA has been incredibly successful in helping us deliver the next generation of skilled VFX talent, not only to RSP but to national and international companies. South Australia is recognised as a net exporter of skilled, job-ready VFX artists, and we support this new strategy encouraging a closer connection between industry, education and government to grow the pool of talent in the state.”

Monkeystack Co-Founder and Director and member of the Games, Animation and PDV Taskforce Justin Wight said: “The game development sector is a huge growth industry in South Australia, backed by initiatives such as the SAFC’s SA Video Game Development (VGD) Rebate which help to drive local investment. We welcome the new South Australian Screen Industry Workforce Development Strategy setting new pathways toward positive growth in the games sector.”

Download a copy of the South Australian Screen Industry Workforce Development Strategy from the SAFC website at www.safilm.com.au.

Image: Breakout Productions’s Hand on TV program – Hands on TV crew member, Michael learning from one of the best in the biz, on board the Rodney Fox Great White Shark Expeditions boat! Skills were learnt and some amazing footage was captured!
Shares: