The trade association UNIC—which represents national associations and cinema operators across 39 European territories—today officially launched the UNIC People Programme, announcing the new initiative’s priorities for the year ahead and the makeup of its newly formed advisory board at the CineEurope panel discussion “Driving Commercial Success through People.”
This UNIC People Programme aims to help the cinema industry maintain its position as an employer of choice, recognizing that the ultimate competitive advantage of any organization lies in its people. With new challenges emerging post-pandemic, in particular in the realms of recruiting, developing, and investing in its workforce, the cinema industry must adapt to the ever-changing landscape of today’s world. This program strives to ensure that the industry remains well-placed to attract and retain top talent.
To achieve its mission, the People Programme has identified five key tracks to ensure the industry is evolving to meet the needs of its employees and remains positioned as a premier employer that attracts and retains top talent:
- Awareness of employment opportunities
- Training and career progression
- Leadership skills
- Internal culture and values
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion
UNIC also announced the newly formed advisory board of the People Programme, chaired by Dee Vassili, chief people officer, Vue International. Additional appointments include: Phil Clapp, president of UNIC and CEO of the U.K. Cinema Association (Vice-Chair); Katharina Phebey, head of marketing & content and member of the management board at Kinopolis; Nevena Brasanac, programming manager for SouthEast Europe at Cineplexx International; and Zarah Doyle, people director U.K. and Ireland at ODEON Cinemas Group.
Dee Vassili, who led the panel discussion where UNIC’s People Programme was introduced, said:
“We believe that investing in people is essential to the continued success and growth of the cinema industry. The UNIC People Programme aims to raise awareness, provide informed insights, and share potential approaches on how to continue to attract and retain talent within the cinema industry, in a world where the only constant is change. “
Phil Clapp, CEO of the U.K. Cinema Association and Deputy Chair of the People Programme’s advisory board, emphasized the importance of the timing of today’s announcement, stating:
“Some may ask why, and maybe even more so, why now? The answer to both questions is that the UNIC People Programme aims to help address the particular challenges the cinema industry is facing at the moment. We need to do more to drive positive change and ensure that the cinema industry remains an attractive employer choice for future generations.”
“In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the cinema industry must actively engage in the search for talent”, added Laura Houlgatte, CEO at UNIC. “As markets experience full employment, the cinema industry is required to compete more than ever with other leisure, retail, and hospitality sectors for skilled professionals. Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have brought about a paradigm shift in employee needs and expectations. Addressing these challenges, the UNIC People Programme seeks to renew an attractive employment proposition for the cinema industry. Through its focused work streams, the programme will create a vibrant and inclusive community that celebrates the magic of cinema while offering fulfilling and rewarding roles and careers.”
Supporting the new programme are two longstanding industry partners, both joining as strategic advisors: Ferco Seating and Generation Media.
Jane Shepherd, managing director at Ferco Seating, said:
“Our internal mission is to support and invest in our people with our focus over the past two years being our ‘The Place to Work’ strategy. Listening to and truly understanding the individual needs of our team has led to the implementation of a variety of inclusive practices to help them flourish and excel. It’s fantastic that UNIC has launched The People Programme and [that] cinema colleagues are aligned with a people first approach—we are delighted to support this initiative and advise on best practices we’ve achieved.”
Greta D’Este-Donelan, director of entertainment at Generation Media, said:
“We are proud to support the UNIC People Programme as strategic advisors, an initiative that is fully aligned to Generation Media’s values and vision. We passionately believe that attracting and retaining talent is key to any organiation within the cinema industry, driving innovation, diversity and, ultimately, growth, and we are delighted to contribute to this journey.”
The UNIC People Programme will continue its efforts through planned panels, webinars, and podcasts, with an upcoming panel taking place during this October’s UNIC Cinema Days in Brussels and the publication of a toolkit in June 2024. More information about the UNIC People Programme and its forthcoming activity can be found here.