Resource Productions Ltd: Dominique Unsworth

Resource Productions Ltd: Dominique Unsworth

Resource Productions Ltd. is a private company that operates like a social enterprise, using its profits to match-fund free training for young people and helping them enter the filmmaking industry. The business has a ‘sister’ charity – Resource Youth Film, which runs training courses for young people and benefits from some of the profits generated.

Dominique Unsworth (pictured left) is both the founder and the managing director of Resource Productions, which was established in 1999. She’s also an enthusiastic advocate of the Apprenticeship model. Dominique explains her business’s varied output:

“We make everything from short dramas, created to highlight specific issues for charities or community groups, through to practical, product demonstration videos for commercial clients, and documentary films too.”

Although Resource Productions has only five or six full time staff at any given time, there are always a few Apprenticeships underway. Young people have been an important part of the business from the beginning, although Apprenticeships are a relatively recent development, as Dominique explains:

“We used to start young people from school on work experience, then we might offer them a part-time job and when they left education they might come and work full time. Then in 2011, we began working with a training organisation called DiVA who introduced us to Apprenticeships. That formalised what we were already doing and also gave the young people involved a qualification.”

Resource Productions works closely with DiVA (Diversity in Visual Arts), which runs Apprenticeship training in creative and digital media and community arts, amongst other programmes. DiVA uses its own social media and the National Apprenticeship Service’s website to advertise and recruit apprentices for the business. Before deciding to establish her own Apprenticeships within Resource Productions, Dominique used DiVA’s training provision and had her first experience of how professional apprentices can be:

“DiVA is a business in its own right with its own apprentices. I realised that people I had been dealing with were actually apprentices and I was impressed.”

Although perceptions are changing, Dominique has noticed that some old prejudices about Apprenticeships remain:

“People sometimes think they know what an Apprenticeship is. Particularly if you’re in the creative industries, they think it must be someone who’s unpaid or unskilled but, in fact, an apprentice is just another member of staff who is training up at entry level and will hopefully progress through the industry or through your business.”

Resource Productions needs people with practical ability and finding people with the right skills to deal with ICT, digital equipment, and complex databases isn’t easy. As Dominique explains, Apprenticeships tell employers much more about an individual than a paper qualification ever could:

“Qualifications are fantastic but they only give us a basic understanding of what a new trainee might be capable of. Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to see the person in the workplace and watch how they use their initiative. Work placements aren’t long enough for us to gain an understanding of whether that person has the skills that we need.”

The dynamic, forward-thinking nature of Resource Productions and Dominique’s open-minded approach mean that an apprentice’s unique talents and specialisms can actually shape future plans for the business:

“When we get young people in through Apprenticeships we find out what interests them and we can actually grow the business in that direction. Previously, we’ve had an apprentice who was really good at animation and post-production so the business area grew in terms of post-production. For us, it’s not just about saying ‘right this is what our business needs, let’s find a young person who can do it’. It’s about finding new talent that can grow the business and inspire us in ways we hadn’t previously considered.”

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