Media and Entertainment is one of the most vibrant industries in India with tremendous scope for employment and entrepreneurship. However, since most of the industry is unorganized, there are many challenges when it comes to skill development and training that meets the industry demands. In this Skill Talk, Mohit Soni, COO, Media and Entertainment Skill Council (MESC) shares his vision for skill development in this sector and discusses some of the initiatives that are already being implemented, such as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and plans for the future in partnership with prominent Film Academies. Let’s read on to know more about how MESC will play a critical role in addressing the need for skilled workforce in this sector.
The Media and Entertainment industry is growing at a CAGR of 16% and the best part is that people have started understanding and appreciating the significance of Media and Entertainment as an industry. This sector involves television, digital media and gaming that is facing a huge skill deficit in many job roles. The numbers have grown multifold and there are several new opportunities and challenges.
The requirement for skilled human resources in this industry is very high; the only consideration is that since it’s an unorganized sector, most of the people who work here are freelancers. In a way, this can be seen as a positive sign for self-employment and entrepreneurship for all the students of media and entertainment institutions. In fact, this is one of the industries where you don’t need to invest a huge amount to start on your own or be an entrepreneur. This is one of the aspirational aspects of the industry.
Today, with the internet penetrating deeper into tier II and tier III cities, there is an increasing demand for quality content in the media ecosystem, particularly in the regional languages. This is bound to increase with the emergence of several news channels on TV and increasing popularity of online videos published on YouTube and similar sites. Various state governments have realised this need and they are embarking on initiatives like setting up of Skill Academies and collaborating with Media Houses and Film and Television sectors.
Skilling initiatives from Media and Entertainment Skill Council (MESC)
Media and Entertainment Skill Council (MESC) is planning to support and skill the candidates for different job roles. Already 1.35 lakh students are trained in the media industry but the problem is that the students who get trained at different institutes may not be able to deliver the same quality of output as required by the industry. As a Sector Skill Council it is our responsibility to share the industry perspective when it comes to the infrastructure for training, faculty development, the curriculum and the content used for training. We are trying to evaluate the industry needs and convey the same to the training institutions.
For example, most institutions that train on animator modeller don’t consider advance job roles like Roto Artist, Colour Key Artist, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). This is what is actually required by the industry, so we are trying to talk to the big studios like Prime Focus, the Technicolour who are the big employers in this space and understand the job roles in greater details along with the skills, knowledge and abilities. After we understand the need and the job role, we intend to design a short training program that can be implemented by the training partners. The participating studios would monitor the program closely and train the faculty to offer the short course. And post assessment, the students of the program get an opportunity to be an intern or trainee at these studios, so the chances of progression for the students is very high.
Scope for entrepreneurship in media and entertainment sector
There is good scope for entrepreneurship in this sector. Even with a small investment such as purchasing a computer and getting a good internet connection, the student can start off as a Graphic Designer and take the entrepreneurial route through Web Designing, Video Editing or Sound Editing. There are ample opportunities for someone who has a good camera to become a professional photographer and try still photography and videos. The other courses that are picking up are Game Designing and Development and all this is now coming on the mobile phones, so the mobile platform is replacing replacing and expanding beyond the film, the cinema halls or television. Everything in the industry will soon evolve and come on the mobile handsets so we are looking more towards facilitating development of digital content.
At present we have 240+ training centres across India; we are looking forward to expand by tying up with international players to prepare international content and at the same level, offer Training of Trainer program by exploring the possibility of joint certification by international players. Our major focus for the next two years will be to develop the industry-linked training programmes which can directly lead to employment and entrepreneurship. All our programmes lead to outcome-based learning including the B.Vocational Degree or AICTE college which have shown interest in partnering for specialised programmes particularly for general Mass Communication.
The other set of courses involve training in developing good quality content for the news channels which are coming up. The same content could be put up on community portals in tier II and tier III cities which are not usually covered by top news channels. The reporters can be trained on using their mobile phones to take pictures and videos and the same content can be shared with leading news channels or published on the website. This can even take the shape of a marketplace for quality content!
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
We are also working in the area of Performing Arts by bringing in qualification packs in Music, Dance and Theatre This involves roles like Hairdresser and Make up Artist which primarily undertaken by people who have learnt these skills on their own. We want to give them an opportunity to upgrade towards what the requirement of the film industry or theatre today, so that they can earn better after formal certification.
Regarding the skilled people working backstage, we did a recent exercise in Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in Chennai where our Chairman Dr Kamal Haasan helped us in connecting with Film Federation of South India. We carried our RPL for 1000+ candidates from different backgrounds like Set Designer, Set Carpenter, Junior Artist and Lightman. These are the people who are behind the show, so, when you see a movie like Bahubali you just don’t see the movie you see the entire environment, the sets that are skillfully created. We are trying to bring all these aspects to the forefront by recognizing the skills and talent of the artistes who are off the screen but contribute to the success of a film or a TV serial. We have Qualification Packs (QPs) for them; we are already in talks with all India Film Federation. By partnering with FFI and IOA, we will expand our outreach in conducting RPL exercise for people who never got an opportunity to showcase their skills and give them a chance to upgrade their skills and provide certification from the Ministry of Skill Development.
As a Sector Skill Council we would strive for improving profile like Storyboard Artists and Script Writers who can be trained to bring the story into the real world right from the stage of the idea to successful execution. This process needs ongoing interaction with the industry.
Plans for the future and strategic partnerships
We are planning a series of events starting this June to take skilling in this sector to the next level. We need to bring in a lot of awareness about the need for skilling and upskilling in HR circles and other functional team members in the industry. Our plan is to invite international dignitaries to India and facilitate workshops and seminars for the benefits of trainers, students and the academic community. we are trying to bring value addition in the form of digital content with the international content will be offered to Indian students at a very affordable price they will not mind paying this to upgrade their existing portfolio.
Some of our key partnerships include collaborative projects with Ramesh Sippy Academy, Subhash Ghai’s institute and other prominent academies from the film industry. We will also be representing at International Gaming, Films and Animation Festivals across the world so that we can mark our presence there and try to make skilling very popular not just in India being the youngest country today we can very soon be the hub for creating IP in India along with the outsourcing work.