Thinking about taking a degree or apprenticeship in the screen industries but not sure where to go? ScreenSkills offers guidance on how to select the route that is best for you, including Tick accreditation that identifies quality courses endorsed by industry professionals.

The White Crow, HanWay Films

Deciding on what path you want to take in education or training can be difficult and confusing. 

If you have just finished college, you might be wondering if you should go to university for a degree or whether there is on-the-job training where you can start earning sooner. 

If you are taking your GSCEs, the next step could be A-levels.  But a vocational course or apprenticeship might be an alternative, including for those who do not succeed in their GCSEs.

How to chose the right course

If you're continuing your education then the last thing you want is to waste time and money on a course that won't get you where you want to be. Ask yourself what you want to get out of further study, in whichever form, and whether the skills you want to gain will improve your chances of getting a job. 

Try to pick a course that plays to your strengths in a field you actually enjoy - enthusiasm goes a long way in the creative industries. Once you've thought about what you want to study make sure you do your research. Check whether the courses you are considering:

  • Have links with industry
  • Have experienced tutors
  • Have up-to-date equipment and facilities
  • Offer you support during your studies

ScreenSkills has a quality marking service called the ScreenSkills Tick that checks for all these factors.  It helps students identity top-class courses with the most up-to-date curriculums and close links with industry and potential employers.

Tick accreditation is only granted to courses after a lengthy application process, so it is a clear benchmark of quality. Graduates of Tick courses can have access to a wider range of opportunities, including bursaries and placement schemes,  masterclasses and networking events. Many employers look to the Tick for work-ready graduates when they come to hiring. 

You can browse our course directory here for a full list of courses. 

Finding an apprenticeship

If you believe academic study is not the path for you, apprenticeships could be an alternative way to begin a career in screen. 

An apprenticeship is a minimum 12-month job combined with training - which means you earn while you learn. Apprenticeships must pay at least minimum wage and once you have qualified, your earnings potential will go up. To apply for an apprenticeship, you must be 16 or over.

Don't be put off if you did not do well in your GCSEs as this won't normally disqualify you. Most of the time, you will be able to do literacy and numeracy training as part of your apprenticeship. Employers are more interested in your enthusiasm, creativity, teamwork, commitment and genuine interest than in your qualifications.

Apprenticeship provisions differ across the UK. Click on the relevant link to get the information you need: EnglandNorthern IrelandScotland and Wales

Screen industry apprenticeships are available for film, television and visual effects (VFX) and at a few different levels:

  • Level 3  – equivalent to two A-level passes
  • Levels 4 and 5 – equivalent to a foundation degree and above
  • Levels 6 and 7 – equivalent to a bachelor’s or master’s degree

You can look for an apprenticeship by asking at your local college or by going to the government apprenticeship register.

There are a few major companies in the screen industries that offer apprenticeships, so check out:

  • BBC: applications normally open in March for apprenticeships starting in September 
  • Google:  applications normally open twice a year, October and February
  • ITV: applications open in May/June for apprenticeships starting in September 
  • Channel 4: applications open February/March for apprenticeships starting in September. 

If you would like more information on how apprenticeships work please visit our apprenticeships page.

Trainee Finder

If you have completed studies or already have some industry work experience then you could think about applying for a trainee placement through ScreenSkills' Trainee Finder scheme. Trainee Finder helps to place trainees on UK features films, children's TV and high-end TV, such as Wonder Woman, Peaky Blinders and Game of Thrones

The scheme opens for applications on Monday 12 November.

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