Bursary guidelines

A ScreenSkills bursary is a cash grant to remove the obstacles to getting into the screen industries or progressing your career once you’re in.

Bursaries can be used to pay for training or other costs involved in your development. We've awarded bursaries to cover the cost of training fees, access, accommodation during training, travel to training, driving lessons, childcare, software and equipment. 

If you’re passionate about your career in film, TV, animation or VFX and you’re unable to develop because of money, bursaries are here for you. However, each bursary application will be reviewed in detail and assessed by a senior manager at the final stage. We exercise our judgement about what awards we make and reserve the right to decline, taking into account a range of different factors.

Covid-19

Restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic meant that in the past year, we were unable to offer bursaries for driving lessons or face-to-face training. From 1 April 2021, we are able to fund these activities again. 

Who can apply for a bursary

You can apply for a bursary if you:

  • currently work in the UK screen industries, or can demonstrate your intention to work in them
  • are eligible to work in the UK
  • are 18 years old or above
  • have a UK bank account

Priority is given to freelancers rather than those with continuous contracts.

Using these guidelines

These guidelines contain all the information you need to apply for a bursary. If, after reading the guidelines, you still have a question or you need help in applying please contact bursaries@screenskills.com. We are also here to help if you have access needs. Email us or call 020 7713 9800.

If you encounter technical issues when trying to complete this application, or don't receive an email telling you that your application was successfully submitted, please contact support@screenskills.com.

When you can expect to hear from us

Applications are assessed within four weeks. If any information is missing on your application we'll get in touch - but this may delay your application. If your application is successful, you'll receive a bursary offer from us. When you've met all the conditions outlined in your offer and provided the additional information requested, it will take at least 15 working days for the funds to reach your account. For more detail on the schedule see the "What happens next" section at the bottom of this page.

How ScreenSkills bursaries are funded

Our bursaries are supported by BFI, through National Lottery funds, and by the screen industries contributions to the Film, High-end TV, Children’s TV, and Animation Skills Funds. For animation submissions priority will be given to working on or aspiring to work on TV series and features, as the support for the bursaries comes from UK television and feature film productions. 

Step 1 - Identify your career stage

The first step in applying for a bursary is identifying your career stage. We aim to offer funding to support screen industry professionals at all stages in their careers. You need to tell us if you are working at an Entry, Early, Experienced or Expert level because what we fund depends upon the stage you’re at.

We understand that screen industry career paths are not always straightforward: you can move into one of the career stages at any age or take a downward or sidewards step. If you don't know what career stage you're at, select the category you feel is more appropriate. If our assessors believe you're at a different stage, we can alter this during the assessment. We don’t reject applications because an inappropriate/incorrect career stage has been selected. If you have any questions, contact bursaries@screenskills.com.

Entry

Entering the screen industries.

Career:
I'm still working that out, but I've definitely decided the screen industries are for me.

Professional engagements:
I am working towards my first couple of professional production credits or full-time employed roles in the screen industries

Budgetary responsibility:
I am not expected to manage budgets or spend money on behalf of the production or company.

Team management:
I do not manage anyone other than myself.

Early

Establishing your career.

Career:
I have a sense of which job role or department I want to work in but as yet I might not be working regularly within it.

Professional engagements:
I have two or more professional production credits and/or have been employed in an industry-recognised role on two or more occasions.

Budgetary responsibility:
I have very minor budgeting responsibility, often restricted to petty cash or acquiring quotes for goods and services.

Team management:
I manage myself and sometimes others also at my level.

Experienced

Progressing your career.

Career:
I've chosen my job role or department and I am regularly working in it.

Professional engagements:
I have a number of professional production credits in my current role or I am transferring in with advanced skills from another sector. I have been working in my chosen industry-recognised role for a number of years full-time.

Budgetary responsibility:
I might expect to be in control of my budget, reporting to a more senior member of the production or company.

Team management:
I might be responsible in my department for overseeing entry-and early-stage career colleagues working with me.

Expert

Acknowledged as an expert.

Career:
I have chosen my specific job role or department and I am now acknowledged as being an expert in my chosen field.

Professional engagements:
I have built up a portfolio of professional credits. I am highly regarded in my field and consistently work in advanced positions within my specialisation.

Budgetary responsibility:
I might be in control of my departmental budget, which could have many categories. I might be aware of other departments/overall budgeting strategy and report directly into the most senior member of finance.

Team management:
I am responsible in my department for overseeing entry-and early-stage career colleagues working with me.

Step 2 - Understand what we fund

Having identified your career stage, you can now see what costs can be covered by a bursary.

Entry

  • Accommodation (up to £90 a night in London, up to £60 a night outside London) for training or short-term work
  • Care (up to £75 per day)
  • Disability access support
  • Equipment purchase (at an appropriate specification to career stage, up to £200 for wet weather gear)
  • Equipment hire
  • Software licensing
  • Subsistence (up to £5 for breakfast, £10 for lunch, £15 for dinner when NOT provided by the employer)
  • Training costs
  • Travel for training or short-term work

Maximum funding available per applicant in the past 12 months:

  • £1,000 - 100% of total costs

Early

  • Accommodation (up to £90 a night in London, up to £60 a night outside London) for training of short-term work
  • Care (up to £75 a day with a cap on £1,500 per annum)
  • Disability access support
  • Driving lessons (up to a maximum of £1,262 for each applicant, in line with the UK’s average cost to pass)
  • Equipment purchase (at an appropriate specification to career stage, up to £200 for wet weather gear)
  • Equipment hire
  • Software licensing
  • Subsistence (up to £5 for breakfast, £10 for lunch, £15 for dinner when NOT provided by the employer)
  • Training costs
  • Travel for training or short-term work

Maximum funding available per applicant in the past 12 months:

  • £2,000 - 80% of total cost

Experienced

  • Accommodation for training (up to £90 a night in London, up to £60 a night outside London)
  • Bespoke/executive coaching
  • Bespoke/executive training
  • Care (up to £75 a day with a cap on £1,500 per annum)
  • Disability access support
  • Driving lessons (up to a maximum of £1,262 for each applicant, in line with the UK’s average cost to pass)
  • Equipment purchase (up to £200 for wet weather gear)
  • Equipment hire
  • Software licensing
  • Training costs
  • Travel for training

Maximum funding available per applicant in the past 12 months:

  • £3,000 - If your total cost is £1,250 or below, 80% of your costs could be supported; if your total cost is more than £1,250, we could support 80% of the first £1,250 and then 50% of the remaining sum, up to £3,000

Expert

  • Accommodation for training (up to £90 a night in London, up to £60 a night outside London)
  • Bespoke/executive coaching
  • Bespoke/executive training
  • Care (up to £75 a day with a cap on £1,500 per annum)
  • Disability access support
  • Driving lessons (up to a maximum of £1,262 for each applicant, in line with the UK’s average cost to pass)
  • Equipment purchase (up to £200 for wet weather gear)
  • Equipment hire
  • Software licensing
  • Training costs
  • Travel for training

Maximum funding available per applicant in the past 12 months:

  • £3,000 - If your total cost is £1,250 or below, 80% of your costs could be supported; if your total cost is more than £1,250, we could support 80% of the first £1,250 and then 50% of the remaining sum, up to £3,000

What we won't fund

  • ScreenSkills bursaries support people who wish to develop skills behind the camera. We do not award funding for roles such as actors, voice-over artists, presenters and other performers.
  • ScreenSkills bursaries support people working in film, TV and animation. We don't support those working in the video or music industries.
  • We don’t fund film production costs, including graduation films, the cost of personal project development, or distribution costs. Bursaries are here to support and equip an individual’s skills development.
  • We don’t pay for theoretical or academic courses. We fund courses that cover practical skills used in paid jobs in the screen industry. Please take a look at our training courses for examples on the types of short courses that are eligible for funding.
  • We don’t provide bursary funding for training which has already been subsidised by ScreenSkills.
  • If you are currently receiving support from ScreenSkills via other initiatives, such as Trainee Finder, we may ask you to reapply once your time on a ScreenSkills programme has finished. This is due to the high demand for bursaries and the ambition to support as many people as possible through an even distribution of funding. 
  • We do not provide bursary funding for full-time or part-time undergraduate or post-graduate courses or for additional costs, such as software licensing, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • We won’t be able to help you with debts or general living expenses.
  • We can't fund driving lessons for people who are entry-level.
  • We do not cover costs which should be paid for by an employer, such as accommodation or travel costs for training provided by the employer.
  • We don’t fund speculative requests. If you’re applying for equipment, you must apply for the specific make and model you require linked to your career stage and be able to qualify why you need it specifically.
  • We don't fund retrospectively. You must apply for a bursary before you have done your training or before you have purchased equipment. 
  • Similarly, we don’t fund training if your course begins within a week of your application.

Step 3 - Gather the evidence about you

When applying for a bursary, you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of your career stage (see below)
  • Your CV
  • A 500-word personal statement explaining how the funded item will help you in your career in the screen industries. A strong personal statement is key to a successful application. We encourage applicants to include the information we need to ensure the award is aligned with our priorities. 
    •  We want to support individuals from groups currently under-represented in our industry. If you are under-represented, tell us.
    • Bursaries are there to remove financial obstacles to career development. We only support those who can't afford to pay the costs themselves. Please explain why you need financial support.
    • We want to know why you need assistance at this particular point in time.
    • We also need you to explain how this training or equipment is appropriate for your needs.  We won't fund the highest spec kit available. We will help provide the kit appropriate for your task. 
    • Our funds can only be used to support those working in, or trying to find work in, film, TV and animation. Please explain which industry you work in or what you are doing to move into that industry.
    • Tell us your next steps should you secure our financial support. We want to see how the bursary relates to your broader career development plan

Entry

Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be professional or academic on headed paper with an e-mail address relating to the company or college for verification.

Please ask your referees to explain why they think you are committed to the screen industries, would be an asset to the screen industries and need a bursary to help you succeed.

It doesn't matter if your referees don't work in the screen industries. Those who work outside  the industry, can use their reference to highlight your transferable skills.

Early

Proof of working in the industry. This must include either:

  • IMDb page
  • LinkedIn profile
  • two professional references on headed paper with an e-mail address relating to the company for verification. Your referees need to explain how you have shown you're committed to the screen industries, how you have developed in your skills or career since they first knew the applicant and why they believe you should receive a bursary.

     

Experienced

Proof of working in the industry for three to seven years. This must include either:

  • IMDb page
  • LinkedIn profile
  • two professional references on headed paper with an e-mail address relating to the company for verification. Your referees need to explain how you have shown you're committed to the screen industries, how you have developed in your skills or career since they first knew the applicant and why they believe you should receive a bursary.

Expert

Proof of working in the industry for more than seven years. This must include either:

  • IMDb page
  • LinkedIn profile
  • two professional references on headed paper with an e-mail address relating to the company for verification. Your referees need to explain how you have shown you're committed to the screen industries, how you have developed in your skills or career since they first knew the applicant and why they believe you should receive a bursary.

     

Step 4 - Gather the evidence about your costs

If you're applying for a bursary for several related costs, such as training with accommodation and travel, make one bursary application and itemise the different elements. See the evidence related to specific costs below.

Driving lessons

Please make sure you can show you have provisional confirmation of lessons from your chosen instructor when applying as there are long waiting lists for lessons due to Covid-19.

Accommodation

If you’re applying for accommodation to attend training you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of the distance from your home (a description or link).
    • A direct website link to your chosen accommodation.
    • A breakdown of costs
    • An explanation of why you need to stay away from home

Please note: we will consider applications from those seeking funding towards costs of accommodation associated with taking up work opportunities, primarily at Entry and Early stages.

ScreenSkills will contribute to accommodation costs at the following rates:

  • Up to £90 a night in London
  • Up to £60 a night outside of London

If the accommodation is needed to attend training that you are also asking ScreenSkills to support, you should only make one bursary application for all related costs.

Disability access support:

If you’re applying for disability access support you will need to provide:

  • A description of the type of support and why you require it.
  • A breakdown of costs.

Care

If you’re applying for care to attend training you will need to provide:

  • The name of your carer.
  • Your carer’s contact details.
  • Proof of a DBS certificate or a link to your carer’s professional website (if applicable)
  • A breakdown of costs

Please note: we will consider applications from those seeking funding towards care associated with taking up work opportunities, primarily at Entry and Early stages.

ScreenSkills will contribute to care costs at the following rates:

  • Up to £75 a day

If the care is needed to attend training that you are also asking ScreenSkills to support, you should only make one bursary application for all related costs.

Early, Experienced and Expert applicants may only apply for up to £1,500 per annum.

Equipment/clothing/software licences

If you’re applying for funding to purchase or rent equipment, clothing or software licences you will need to provide:

  • The name of your chosen equipment, clothing or software supplier
  • A quote for the cost of the equipment, clothing or software

For wet weather gear, ScreenSkills will contribute up to a maximum of £200 per applicant.

Subsistence

If you’re applying for subsistence while attending training or a work opportunity – where subsistence is not provided by the venue/training provider/employer – you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of the distance from your home: a description of the journey or link explaining the journey, which must be more than 25 miles. Please explain in your supporting statement any exceptional circumstances which mean that you require subsistence support where the journey is under 25 miles.  
  • A breakdown of costs.

Please note: we will consider applications from those seeking funding towards subsistence associated with work opportunities in the short-term, primarily at Entry and Early stages, where meal allowances are not provided by the employer.

ScreenSkills will contribute to subsistence costs for development or training where food is not supplied by the organiser, at the following rates:

  • Up to £5 for breakfast
  • Up to £10 for lunch
  • Up to £15 for dinner

Alcohol will not be covered.

If the subsistence is needed to attend training that you are also asking ScreenSkills to support, you should only make one bursary application for all related costs.

Training

If you're applying for a training course you will need to provide:

  • The name of your chosen training course(s). We cannot fund speculative applications. You must identify the course you want to attend and apply for a bursary specifically for that course.
  • The name and address of the training provider
  • Evidence of the training cost
  • The training dates. Please note that we cannot provide bursary funding for retrospective payment of training costs, nor do we accept liability for your costs should you decide to attend a course before we have informed you of our decision. Choose a course that is at least four weeks ahead of your bursary application.
  • Confirmation of the course costs and a booking confirmation or correspondence with the training provider which confirms your reserved place. This is especially important with face-to-face courses during Covid-19.  We need confirmation that the course is going ahead on that date as part of your application.  
  • A direct link to or a copy of the course outline

Please note that ScreenSkills does not offer bursaries on courses it already funds. Ask the training provider if the course is funded by ScreenSkills before you apply for a bursary.

Travel

If you're applying for travel costs to attend training you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of the distance from your home (a description or link explaining the journey, which must be more than 25 miles. Please explain in your supporting statement any exceptional circumstances which mean that you require travel support where the journey is under 25 miles.
  • Evidence of the travel costs (eg a link or photo)
  • A breakdown of costs.

Please note: we will consider applications from those seeking funding towards travel associated with taking up work opportunities, primarily at Entry and Early stages.

ScreenSkills expect people to use public transport whenever possible. If you need to use your own transport we will contribute at the following rates:

  • 25p per mile (by car)
  • 24p per mile (by motorbike/scooter)

Standard class/economy rates only (rail and air).

All vehicles must be fully road-legal and we reserve the right to ask for copies of insurance, MOT and driving licence.

If the travel is needed to attend training that you are also asking ScreenSkills to support, you should only make one bursary application for all related costs.

Bespoke training/coaching

If you're applying for bespoke coaching/training you will need to provide:

  • A written statement explaining the training purpose, how it will be used, why it is not available by other means and why this training/coaching will help you professionally.
  • A company-headed letter/e-mail from the provider outlining the training or coaching plan.
  • A quotation from the provider for the cost of the training or coaching

Step 5 - Apply for a ScreenSkills bursary

Once you have read the guidelines you are ready to apply for a bursary

Go to application page

What happens next

Decision-making process, timelines and communication

We aim to offer funding wherever possible, but we cannot promise that all applications will be successful due to limited funding and skills shortage priorities.

Applications are assessed by the ScreenSkills bursary team and senior managers. 

We recommend that when you’re planning your application, you allow at least four weeks from submission for an answer on whether your application has been successful.

We may need to ask you for additional information, so the time we take to make a decision may also be affected by the time it takes you to respond to any requests for further information. Please bear in mind that, to ensure equality of opportunity, we cannot speed up the assessment process in any individual case.

If an offer is made to you, the first payment instalment will then take up to a further 3 weeks to reach your account.

If your application is successful, you will receive an e-mail with a letter outlining the provisional offer and our terms and conditions.  The offer e-mail will explain what further information we will then need such as a copy of formal identification and proof of a UK bank account. Please note that we use anti-fraud systems to verify your identity. This process forms part of the application process and will be carried out before any funding is awarded or released to successful applicants.

If you receive an offer e-mail you must accept the offer within two weeks of the date of the e-mail.   ScreenSkills cannot release any funding until checks are made and we receive your signed offer letter. The signed, returned offer letter is your ‘Funding Agreement’ with ScreenSkills.

Please let us know in writing if we offer you funding but you no longer wish to accept it. Any offers not accepted within two weeks will be withdrawn. 

If your bursary application is unsuccessful, we will notify you by e-mail. ScreenSkills cannot accept responsibility for any costs incurred before the decision on your application is confirmed.

Bursary payment schedule

Confirmed bursary funding will be paid directly into your personal bank account. ScreenSkills will pay 80% of the amount agreed (up to a maximum of £1,000) once you have returned your signed offer letter, provided all information requested and all of our checks have been made. The balance of the bursary funding will be reserved until you have completed the activity or purchase supported by the bursary funding and submitted the documentation outlined in the ‘Funding Agreement’ paperwork. In exceptional circumstances we will consider varying this staged payment: if you think your situation qualifies, please outline the reasons in your personal statement, or you can contact: bursaries@screenskills.com

Please note that you are responsible for payments made to third parties. ScreenSkills does not accept responsibility for transferring funds to third parties.

Bursary investment and follow-up

If you’re awarded a bursary you must invest your funding in line with your approved application. If you purchase any equipment using bursary funding you are expected, wherever possible, to insure your purchase. ScreenSkills cannot be held responsible for any loss, theft or damage of any item and/or purchase made using bursary funding. If any purchased item is returned, or any planned activity is cancelled, you are legally required to return all awarded bursary funding to ScreenSkills.

If you receive bursary funding ScreenSkills will follow up with you, at intervals, to ensure that funding is being used as agreed and to monitor how the bursary support has helped your career progression.  Taking part in this process will be part of your funding agreement with us.  

Other information

Fund management

ScreenSkills has a limited amount of bursary funds to invest in supporting screen industry skills development. Every two months we will look at the pattern of our bursary investment. If we find that a certain role, skill, demographic or type of training has received a disproportionate amount of bursary funding we reserve the right to adjust our application approvals to ensure a balanced funding distribution. Similarly, if we invest a larger amount than budgeted during one particular phase, we reserve the right to close applications for a period of time to ensure fair distribution of bursary funds during each financial year.

Diversity and inclusivity

ScreenSkills strives to be an inclusive organisation, and we are committed to meeting the aims of our diversity and equal opportunities policy which is in line with the Equality Act 2010. We support the screen industries’ aim for their workforce to reflect the UK’s diversity. 

ScreenSkills bursaries support talented people, including people from underrepresented groups, to enter or progress in the screen industries. This is particularly important in circumstances where people feel that the screen industries are not open to them, whatever their career experience and stage.

When you apply for a bursary we will request consent for your diversity information to be used, where appropriate, in the application assessment process. Diversity information is also used to help us monitor ScreenSkills bursary applications, take-up and benefit.  

For more information please read our ScreenSkills guide to diversity and inclusivity monitoring.

Privacy and data

ScreenSkills is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy, and to collecting and processing your data in accordance with all legal requirements. For more information please read our policies which are in line with the General Data Protection Guidelines of May 2018 (GDPR) and any other subsequent Data Protection Legislation UK (Act). 

If you have questions or concerns about your data you can contact our Data Protection Officers at data.protection@screenskills.com

Fraud

ScreenSkills is committed to ensuring that bursary funds reach the right people and are used in the right way. By making an application for a bursary you are agreeing that the personal information you supply can be shared with fraud prevention agencies who will use it to prevent fraud and money-laundering and to verify your identity. If fraud is detected your bursary application will automatically be declined. A record of any fraud or money laundering risk will be retained by the fraud prevention agencies, and may result in others refusing to provide services, financing or employment to you.

Further details of how your information will be used by us and these fraud prevention agencies, and your data protection rights, can be found here.

If you are successful in your application you must spend the money as agreed, keeping all receipts and returning them to ScreenSkills.  You must also comply with other reasonable terms, as outlined in your ‘Funding Agreement’ paperwork.  ScreenSkills reserves the right to take appropriate action if the terms of the ‘Funding Agreement’ paperwork are not met.  

Please be aware that we reserve the right to amend these guidelines at any time. If you have questions or need advice please contact us at bursaries@screenskills.com.

These guidelines were last updated 22 March 2021.