Government bankrolls internships for beneficiaries in Auckland's screen industry

The Government is bankrolling 20 paid internships to help beneficiaries get employed in Auckland's screen industry.

Our biggest city is seeing unprecedented growth in the sector but is struggling to fill jobs, so the Ministry of Social Development is giving its clients a chance to kickstart a career in film.

"Lots of people have no idea how they would get a foot in the door and yet the industry is telling us they've got a shortage of people," Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says.

So it's come up with a solution to fill the gaps - paying for beneficiaries to get the experience they need.

"Anything we can do to convert MSD clients into viable and effective film industry workers is great," said FilmFX director Brendon Durey.

And there's proof it can work.

Jack Mensah went through a similar internship programme on the production of Power Rangers. Now, he's a digital content creator.

"I don't think without this internship I'd be where I am right now," Mensah says.

Auckland's screen industry is booming with entertainment giants Amazon making a Lord of the Rings series and Netflix filming a remake of the hit Japanese anime series Cowboy Bebop in the city

"Its contribution to Auckland's GDP increased from $289 million in 2013 to $372 million in 2018," Sepuloni said.

That input is expected to grow with more opportunities for people to get involved. 

"Hairdressing, for catering, for lighting... all sorts of things that we see opportunities, for people, for apprenticeships," said the Ministry of Social Development's Amanda Nicolle. 

And who knows? Maybe one day, someone will go from the benefit to the big screen.

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