Unscripted Skills Fund development researcher training programme

Cartoon graphic of a man standing with a call sheet and a telescope
Cartoon graphic of a man standing with a call sheet and a telescope
Career stages
Entry, Early
Unscripted TV
ScreenSkills funded
  • Do you have a passion for unscripted TV?
  • Are you brimming with ideas?
  • Can you spot trends, subjects and/or people who would make great TV?
  • Would you like your next role to be part of a team developing unscripted TV show ideas?

If you answered 'yes', then our Unscripted: development researcher training programme is for you!

Unscripted TV relies on ideas. Good ideas keep TV schedules full, viewers engaged and production companies in business. But where do they come from?

With an acute shortage of new development researchers, it’s more important than ever for the next generation of talent to find their feet in the world of unscripted development. Blending self-directed learning with live Zoom training, followed by a one-month industry placement, this Unscripted: development researcher course will prepare you to hit the ground running in your first role as a development researcher.

Led by development executive and series producer, Perjit Aujla, the course focuses on the essential skills needed to work in development.

Course content will cover creative and ideation skills needed to generate exciting programme ideas, to editing and software skills needed to pitch them to commissioners. To support you in setting up sustainable development careers, the content will include vital communication skills which employers are looking for, and guidance on making yourself as employable as can be.

Following the course, trainees who complete the training will be matched with a development researcher placement in the development team of an unscripted production company. Testing your new skills and knowledge in a real company environment will consolidate what you learn and get you some industry connections along the way!

Unscripted: development researcher is open to a total of 60 people and will run with three cohorts. On applying, you will be asked to confirm your preference of dates and you are expected to be available for the duration of your chosen set. You will also be expected to be available for a one month full time placement following the completion of the training. We will endeavour to secure placements that begin immediately following the training but this may not be possible in all cases.

This programme is supported by the ScreenSkills Unscripted TV Skills Fund which invests in training for the unscripted workforce thanks to contributions from BBC, Channel 4, Sky, A+E Networks UK, Discovery UK, Channel 5, Netflix, ITV, Amazon, UKTV and S4C matched by production companies. 

Who it's for

This course is aimed at those who want a career in unscripted and who: 

  • Are 18+ and not in full-time education.
  • Have approximately two years of work experience in ANY industry.
  • Have demonstrable interest in a career in development.

You do not need to have worked in TV or development before to apply for this course. 

We welcome applications for those looking to return to work following a career break. 

This course is free to attend.

To ensure this training is accessible to the widest possible audience, the training will take place online and outside of standard office hours. Sessions will take place on weekday evenings and some Saturday mornings.

We always welcome applications from under-represented groups, including, but not limited to: those from Minority Ethnic Groups; people with a disability; people from the LGBTQ+ community and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

We welcome applications from all individuals. If you would like support completing the application form and/or would like us to send it to you in an alternative format, please email: training@mission.guru

What it covers

By the end of the course participants can expect to have learned: 

  • The role and duties of a development researcher
  • How the development process works
  • The technical skills needed to create pitch decks and sizzles
  • The communication skills needed to work as a development researcher
  • About the freelance nature of the industry and be prepared to for this type of work
  • How to make the most from their placement

The classroom elements of this course blends live Zoom training with self-directed learning. The self-directed learning has been carefully structured to compliment your learning in the live sessions; participants will be expected to keep up with the self-directed learning and manage their own time in doing so.  

The self-directed learning elements of the course will be hosted on the learning management portal LearnDash on the Mission Accomplished website. 

Participants will be given login details at the start of the course and will have exercises and activities to do in advance of the training beginning and between the subsequent live sessions. Keeping up with this independent work will enable participants to come to live sessions ready to be a part of the conversation!  

While completion of tasks will be expected in advance of sessions, participants will be able to do them at times to suit them!

Live Zoom sessions have been scheduled outside of standard office hours and are designed to bring participants together with our expert training team for live learning and support.  

Participants will be expected to attend all of the sessions within their selected course to maximise learning.  

Course Tutors:

Alison Grade | Course Director

Alison founded and runs Mission Accomplished. The company regularly delivers training courses for ScreenSkills. Alison is an experienced line producer and production manager as well as a Nesta Accredited Creative Enterprise Trainer. She regularly delivers training that enables creatives to take their careers to the next level. Alison is the author of the Penguin published book, The Freelance Bible and offers many workshops and training programmes to support freelancers.

Perjit Aujla | Course Tutor 

Perjit has more than 13 years’ experience in factual TV as an RTS award-winning series producer, an edit producer and a former head of development. She has won commissions from Channel 4, Channel 5 and worked on programming as diverse as a Joe Wicks series for 4OD to the Bafta-nominated Cbeebies series Maddie’s Do You Know. 

Based in Leamington Spa, Perjit is a champion of the regions, producing and chairing local events on behalf of Women in Film and Television and RTS Midlands, where she is also on the committee. She has supported diverse off-screen talent via. Creative Access and the Channel 4 Trainee Scheme. 

How to apply

Click the 'Apply now' button above. You’ll be redirected to the Mission Accomplished listing.

On applying, you will be asked to confirm your availability for the fixed dates and you are expected to be available for the duration of your chosen set.

The dates for live training sessions are listed below:

Cohort 1: 

  • Saturday 18 November 2023 (09:00-13:30)
  • Wednesday 22 November 2023 (18:30-20:30)
  • Thursday 23 November 2023 (18:30-20:30)
  • Wednesday 29 November 2023 (18:30-20:30)
  • Thursday 30 November 2023 (18:30-20:30)
  • Wednesday 6 December 2023 (18.30-20.30)
  • Tuesday 12 December 2023 (18:30-20:30)
  • Wednesday 13 December 2023 (18:30-20:30) 

 Cohort 2: 

  • Saturday 13 January 2024 (09:00-13:30)
  • Wednesday 17 January 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Thursday 18 January 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Wednesday 24 January 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Thursday 25 January 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Wednesday 31 January 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Tuesday 6 February 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Wednesday 7 February 2024 (18:30-20:30) 

 Cohort 3: 

  • Saturday 16 March 2024 (09:00-13:30)
  • Wednesday 20 March 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Thursday 21 March 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Wednesday 3 April 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Thursday 4 April 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Wednesday 10 April 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Tuesday 16 April 2024 (18:30-20:30)
  • Wednesday 17 April 2024 (18:30-20:30) 

With additional Q&A sessions with commissioning editors to be confirmed in line with availability of speakers. 

All participants who complete the self-directed and classroom-based elements of the course will be eligible for a one-month work placement within an unscripted development team. These placements are expected to start less than three months after completing the course and are designed to consolidate your learning and to help you connect with the industry and try out your development researcher skills in a real environment.

The Unscripted TV Skills Fund will make a salary contribution for each one-month placement to the host production company.

Mission Accomplished have extensive networks of production companies and will match participants up with an appropriate opportunity.

If you work for a production company that would be interested in offering one of these placements, please email USF@screenskills.com

Judging information

Applications for this programme will be assessed after each closing date and a candidate shortlist will be drawn up.

  • Closing date Cohort 1: 18 October 2023 (23:59)
  • Closing date Cohort 2: 6 December 2023 (23:59)
  • Closing date Cohort 3: 15 February 2024 (23:59)

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a short Zoom interview with the course tutor and course director.

Interviews will be offered on the following dates during office hours and are course specific.

  • Cohort 1: 26 – 27 October 2023
  • Cohort 2: 18 – 19 December 2023
  • Cohort 3: 4 – 5 March 2023

Following interviews all applicants for that course will be notified with a decision.

Contact information

Email: training@mission.guru

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished is a private training provider based in the West Midlands. We focus on training across the full breadth of the screen and creative industries. Mission Accomplished is led by Alison Grade, author of The Freelance Bible and much of the training we offer is focussed on employability and career development including leadership and management

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