Sector experts support the development of Media, Broadcast and Production T Level route | NCFE

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Sector experts support the development of Media, Broadcast and Production T Level route

In October 2021, we announced that we’d been selected by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) to develop the technical qualification for a new T Level in Media, Broadcast and Production, which will be available for first delivery in September 2023.   

Since then, we’ve been working with leading employers, practitioners and providers from across the sector to develop this. So, we thought we’d catch up with some of the individuals who have been involved to learn more about their role, including: 

  • Dan Makaveli, Founder and Managing Director of Media Savvy CIC and Lecturer of Film and Media Production at the University of Sunderland
  • Lewis William Cuthbert, Co-Founder/Producer at Playing Up Theatre Company
  • Simon Ford, Learning and Performance Consultant
  • Tony Steyger, Producer and Director at People Media UK 
  • Wizdom Layne, Managing Director of MOBO UnSung.

Why did you choose to be involved?

Dan Makaveli:Although I am always very 'challenged' for my time, the opportunity to become a key contributor in the development of these new qualifications was too good an opportunity to turn down.”

Simon Ford: “I wanted to help young people at post-16 level to develop operation skills through a structured course of study, with qualifications that recognise practical and academic ability equally.”

Tony Steyger: “Ultimately, I wanted students to have a more meaningful understanding of the media industry and be more proficient in producing content as soon as possible. In turn, this will enable them to take full advantage of all the work experience and live projects that will arise in FE and HE, and thus better prepare them for their future employment.”

What has your experience been like and what have you got out of it?

Dan Makaveli:Writing the assessments has been quite challenging at times, but it has been enjoyable to get to understand the rigorous processes. Although I have significant experience in writing content and assessments for similar subject areas (up to Level 2), I had certainly underestimated the robustness of the process in its entirety to create this new T Level infrastructure.”

Lewis William Cuthbert: “I picked up the work quickly and it has been very rewarding. My confidence has grown and it's nice to know you're making a difference.”

Wizdom Layne: “It has been fantastic to see the qualification come to life. The panel was an amazing group of industry professionals from across the creative spectrum who were able to pour their collective knowledge into the T Level. I have previously created a number of work experience courses and programmes, but had never worked with the Department for Education. I found it an enjoyable challenge to try and put on paper what we know to be the way our industry operates.”

Why is it important to have high-quality qualifications in this area?

Simon Ford: “I believe we can only progress as a modern economy by nurturing a post-16 model of education that gives equal status to academic and practical ability. This is what T Levels set out to accomplish.”

Tony Steyger: “High-quality vocational qualifications will have significant levels of practical experience, real-world learning and skills acquisition embedded in the curriculum. This is important for employers and others, to allow them to feel reassured that those students and graduates are well on the way to being ready for working in the media industry, being able to hit the ground running and be a real asset to any production company or broadcaster.”

Wizdom Layne: “In my professional creative career, qualifications have not been as important as experience, networks, and access. The challenge with the T Level was to be able to write that into the course so that the focus was not simply on having the skill, but the attitude and work ethic that the industry requires. Often skills can be learned on the job, but getting through the door if you don't have family connections or live in a major city can be a real struggle. If we can get the work experience nailed, we will have created an actual realistic route into the creative industry for everyone who has the requisite creativity and drive.”

What are the skills needs and gaps in your area of work?

Dan Makaveli: “There is currently a huge demand and a dearth of talent in the creative industries and these job opportunities are predicted to continue to grow, long into the future. There are numerous studies and statistics to validate these opportunities. The new T Level will hopefully provide an excellent starting point, enabling young people to either move directly into these opportunities or move on to specialise further in HE.”

Lewis William Cuthbert: “We need people – whether they aspire to be technicians, producers or stage managers – who are passionate, enthusiastic, intelligent and devoted to learning a craft and seeing it through, in order to keep these industries afloat.”

Tony Steyger: “The key needs for any small or medium-sized media production company is for new entrants to be multi-skilled across technical and organisational skills, and to be entirely proficient with the very latest digital workflows, data management and streaming/web platforms. Concurrent with these teachable skills are the highly important personal skills including self-confidence, the ability to communicate, the ability to work alone or with others and to be organised and friendly and honest.”

Why would you recommend others in the sector get involved in supporting T Levels?

Lewis William Cuthbert: “The work is worthwhile, challenging and fulfilling with flexible hours and a great, supportive team around you.”

Simon Ford: “By supporting T Levels, we are helping develop a new generation of journalists and media professionals. By contributing now, we are changing the future for the better.”

Wizdom Layne: “I think most creative businesses are looking for new talent but are worried about being overwhelmed with who they allow through the door, so those students with real-world experience are highly prized. Our plan is for the T Level to produce work-ready talent, but we need businesses to get involved as clients offering real-world briefs that can be executed by entry level position to really make it all work.”

How do you think T Levels will benefit your sector?

Lewis William Cuthbert: “T Levels will open the doors to copious amounts of future professionals, all with their own invaluable expertise to share. The creative industries need all the help they can get to ensure the survival of the arts at a time when they are most needed.”

Tony Steyger: “T Levels will be of enormous benefit to the media industry, generating new entrants with a wider range of skills and knowledge that they can bring to the world of work. This learning will be highly current, entirely relevant and practically invaluable.”

Wizdom Layne: “If we can produce students with the work ethic and experience who are comfortable in the environments, know what it’s like to be on set, and are experienced in what it takes to deliver a project on time and on budget, I believe we will have created something very special and make it more likely for those with a passion to realise their goals, rather than simply the privilege of having the right connections.”

To find out how you can be part of a once in a lifetime revolution in education which will impact and improve your industry, please visit our T Levels support page. 

“I believe we can only progress as a modern economy by nurturing a post-16 model of education that gives equal status to academic and practical ability. This is what T Levels set out to accomplish.

Simon Ford, Learning and Performance Consultant
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