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Evaluation of the BFI Film Academy
Our research programme helped steer the roll-out of the Film Academy, which aims to train and inspire the next generation of British filmmakers, and evaluate its performance as a gold-standard, industry-focused educational programme.
Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.
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The British Film Institute (BFI)
After three years of research, we have a solid platform of evidence showing the impact of the BFI Film Academy
The BFI Film Academy is a national programme aiming to provide opportunities for talented and committed young people between the ages of 16-19 to develop new skills and build a career in the film industry, no matter where they live or what their background.
BOP Consulting was commissioned in February 2013 to evaluate the BFI Film Academy during its first three years. The evaluation aimed to assess the operation of the programme, whether it met its expected outcomes, and to develop a tracking database to understand the impact of the programme.
This report comes at the end of three years of research. In total, we have analysed over 1,500 survey responses, conducted nearly 150 interviews, and visited nearly all the BFI Film Academies across the country. Our tracking survey has collected evidence of participant progression both immediately after the programme, and follows up every six months afterwards. This gives us unique data on how the careers of participants have progressed, as they move from school or college to higher education or the workforce.
The BFI Film Academy now reaches around 1,000 participants each year, through over 40 partners. These groups come from a range of backgrounds matching the UK’s diverse population.
The courses are of high quality, and receive very high satisfaction rates from participants – 95% say they are satisfied or very satisfied.
Course managers were very positive about the BFI programme management. They appreciated the appropriate, hands-off direction, the fast communication, and connections to industry, which they could not access themselves.
The programme is characterised by the influence it has had on participant’s career choices, a result of providing a clear understanding of career options, motivation, and passion. Its impact appears to be sustained over time. Even two years on, half of participants report that the programme has had a large influence on their career choices.
The characteristics of the programme which lead to this impact are providing opportunities to: work in a team to make a film (which teaches the core skills required); become part of a group of filmmakers (and so develop a sense of identity and meet collaborators); and meet film industry experts and speakers (which supports a better understanding of career options).
In so doing, it looks to have provided a missing link unavailable to many who are passionate about film. Over nine in ten participants would not have access to a similar course, if the BFI Film Academy did not exist.
Finally, there is evidence the programme has supported the film education sector as well, by supporting delivery organisations to raise their profile and increase their reach; connecting them with the film sector; improving their management skills; and helping fill gaps in provision.
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