Marginalised young people (between the ages of 16- 25) who are socially and economically disadvantaged can be categorized as NEETS. NEET stands for Not in Employment, Education or Training. Young people in this position can often feel helpless and are more at risk to turn to become social deviants. This is not due to any wrongdoing of their own, but rather due to the economic and social desperation and hopelessness in which they find themselves.
Support systems for NEETS are few and far between. There are youth centers which provide a space for these young people to get advice and even acquire some skills. These centers however are dependent on external funding and do not generate any income or turn a profit. Because of this, the up-skilling programs which are provided for NEETS are usually run by external organizations or individuals with the assistance of the centers staff.
Most of the courses provided cover basic life-skills such as cooking, financial guidance or basic schooling courses. These courses are vital for the NEETS, as many have not had the opportunity to be taught such skills due to their background. Here at the Young Film Academy we try to partner with these centers and organizations so that we may provide filmmaking courses for NEETS to develop an entirely new range of skills.
We offer short intensive courses, which last two weeks, running on five days a week. We also provide courses which last as long as twelve weeks, but which only run on one day per week. By
doing this we can accommodate the NEETS and the organizations specific time management requirements.
On either course we will provide the same kind of training. The NEETS will learn about the entire filmmaking process, from scripting to screening their films. This will provide them with a detailed range of new technical skills which would most likely have been unavailable to them.
Our courses take a practical “hands on” approach to teaching these skills. We will provide the NEETS participating with the basic overview of the filmmaking process and how every step works. After that we will allow them to go through every step of the process themselves, in groups. This will allow for
them to make documentaries or films which are entirely their own and will give them a space to familiarize themselves with the equipment and the technical skills which are integral to filmmaking.
Here at the Young Film Academy we are serious about trying to make a difference in the lives of marginalized young people and feel that through offering these courses we can provide an amazing opportunity. Since 2005 we have been running these programs, making a difference in the lives of countless young people. The rewards speak for themselves, as many of the films and documentaries produced by NEETS in our programs have won legitimate filmmaking awards, such as at the BFI Future Film Festival, First Light and Film Nation Awards.
NEETS No Future without Skills
The number of NEETS in Britain has grown at an alarming rate. There are believed to be roughly a million NEETS now living in Britain. This figure is worrying because of the fact that most of these NEETS are not in this position by any wrongdoing of their own.
Children from unstable economic and social backgrounds are frequently not given the input required to become functional teens and adults. Without sufficient parental input, these children are placed at an educational and developmental disadvantage to those children who receive parental input at
home. An unstable home life can negatively affect a child’s schooling, and this can be immensely detrimental to their future.
With poor schooling, teenagers are unlikely to secure bursaries or funding to further their education. Teens with low marks in school are also unlikely to have developed any additional skills which may help them find employment. Because of their poor social and economic backgrounds it is also unlikely that they will have any contacts that can help them find steady employment.
Essentially, children from these backgrounds grow up to be unskilled adults, and without skills there are very few job prospects. Indeed, one can only really find steady employment in any field if you at least have some form of qualification which legitimates you as a potential candidate. Most NEETS
lack any of this kind of vocational training, and thus are considered to be “unemployable”.
Centers to help NEETS do exist, but their assistance can only go so far. As previously mentioned, many NEETS lack even the basic skills to look after themselves. This is what these centers primarily focus on. Training and up-skilling people is expensive due to the resources and expertise required for
such an undertaking. Skills training can only be provided for NEETS if external organizations partner with centre to provide it. The Young Film Academy is one such organization, which offers filmmaking courses for NEETS.
Finding ways to provide NEETS with training can be a difficult feat. As already mentioned, training is expensive to provide. Additionally, it is difficult to provide training that will develop the NEETS skills set, provide them with personal satisfaction and help them find employment.
An unfortunate reality of life is that no matter how many skills you have, and no matter what they may be, you are never guaranteed employment. Because NEETS come from such disadvantaged backgrounds, many of them are stricken with hopelessness and despair. This hopelessness is no doubt a contributing factor to the fact that NEETS are disproportionately responsible for crimes committed by youths.
The biggest problem this hopelessness can bring with it is the lack of any desire to invest in ones’ self or even bother with acquiring training. If a marginalized young person believes that regardless of receiving any training, they will remain unemployed, then they will lack any impetus to commit themselves to training.
At the Young Film Academy we aim to combat this disillusion that so many NEETS feel. We try and generate an interest in our courses, by giving the participants full creative control with what they do. They need to know that what they are creating is theirs. Making films is something that most NEETS can only dream of, and by providing them with this opportunity we hope to meaningfully affect these youths and inspire a desire to acquire training and carve out their own careers.
With our courses, we try to run them alongside the staff of the centers. We do not have any expertise or skills in dealing with youths from damaging or traumatizing backgrounds. As such, we
feel as though it would be irresponsible of us to take on tasks which we are neither trained nor prepared for. This means that our courses are rolled out by our staff, with our equipment and
resources, alongside the staff of centers aiding NEETS, and their resources.
Our courses can either be rolled out in a short, two week and more intensive period, or in a more leisurely twelve week period. The choice is up to the center. In these courses the same skills will be taught and the same opportunities exist for the NEETS.
The course operates as such:
> We provide the equipment, skills and knowledge to the participants so that they can make their own films, animations or documentaries in teams.
> The NEETS will engage in every step of the filmmaking process, thereby understanding the entire process as a whole, as well as the smaller steps which make up the process.
> They will make a film, which will be their own creation, and which may be screened at film festivals or in cinemas. The success of the film may result in the participants starting a career in filmmaking, and is often how people break into the film industry.
Basically, this means that the NEETS will have to write their own scripts, build sets and costumes if necessary, film it and edit it. They may choose to make an animation or a documentary, but every single step of the procedure needs to be done by them. This “hands on” approach, we find is much more stimulating for the participants, and often results in them learning more than if we had dictated to them everything they should do.
By putting complete creative control in the hands of the participants, they are given a space to flex their creativity and come up with something close to their hearts that they truly invest themselves in. Because they are committed to the project, they do not approach it with despondency or
hopelessness, which means that they are actually excited about what they are learning. When someone is excited about what they are learning, they tend to actually absorb the information.
We also show them how to use all the equipment, but then put it in their hands. They have to use it themselves, which gives them a space to familiarize themselves with it and become comfortable with using it. Because they are comfortable and confident with the equipment, this means they have actually developed a new skill as someone who can operate it.
By giving them a space to “discover” the skills themselves, through trial and error, creative exploration and making something that is their own, these courses tend to have a lasting impact on the participants. Also, an additional incentive which may spur on their drive and passion for
filmmaking is the fact that once their film is completed, they will have the opportunity to screen their film publicly. Public screenings may lead their film to being included at awards or festivals, and the success of the film may result in the participant landing a career in the film industry.
In addition to our NEETS programmes, we also run similar courses for YOTS — Young Offending Teams. This course tends to last between 10 — 15 days, and provides the young offenders with an accredited course which can help them find employment in the future. For this, we will provide facilitators who are experienced in working with the prison justice system.
What Skills Do You Learn?
Depending on which avenue of filmmaking you choose to go down, whether it is filmmaking, documentaries or animation, you will learn basic filmmaking skills, and the specialty skills required for that medium. Technical skills include filming, lighting, editing, sound, sound effects and sound editing.
Additional skills which we can help you with are:
> Stop motion animation
> Interviewing documentary participants
> Costume design and makeup
> Set building
> Concept creation for scripting
There are other skills which can be developed through our courses, but these you will discover through practical engagement. Additionally, our courses often help participants build their confidence, give them a passion for life, help inspire them to develop themselves, and help combat hopelessness and disillusion.
Breaking Into the Job Market
Ultimately, this is why anyone undertakes any kind of training. We are all seeking to up-skill ourselves so that we can be more employable and stand a better chance in the job market. While the skills we provide are specific to the film industry, these skills are invaluable to finding a career in this industry. Additionally, because you walk away from the course with a finished product, you have an example of what you are capable of. On top of this, screenings of your film may result in your film winning an award, or landing you a job in the film industry, which would be most beneficial to your career. Our courses aim to make a lasting impact on the lives of the participants. Attending these courses will not only equip you with the vital skills needed to find a job that is a great fit for you, but will leave you with a boosted self-esteem for the rest of your life.
Looking For Partnerships
We are currently looking for partners who can help us roll out these courses for NEETS and YOTS. If your organization is interested in our courses and would like us to run one at your centre, please do not hesitate to contact us. Here at the Young Film Academy we strive to make a difference in the lives of our marginalized young people.