Children's TV

The live-action children's television industry produces quality programmes across all genres for young people up to 15 years old.  Contributions made by programme-makers to the Children's TV Skills Fund support skills and training in this area of television. This page applies specifically to children's live-action TV productions. Producers working in animated children's TV should visit the animation page for information about funding provided via the Animation Skills Fund.

For parents, teachers and prospective students seeking more information about careers in children's TV, please visit Careers.

The Children’s TV Skills Fund (commonly known as the levy) was created in 2015 following the introduction of UK tax relief for children’s live-action TV. In return for the tax credit, the industry agreed that those utilising the tax credit would contribute to a skills fund managed by ScreenSkills.

The key purpose of the fund is to fund skills activity to develop freelancers and talent working at all levels in children’s TV, in order to advance their careers as well as bring new entrants into the industry. This activity aims to increase and upskill the children’s TV workforce in the UK.

Productions pay 0.5% of the production budget spent in the UK, and the contribution is capped at £43,000 per production. Since 2015, ScreenSkills has collected and invested over £500,000 in skills activity for the children’s TV industry.

The earlier that children’s TV productions commit to contributing to the Skills Fund the more opportunities they could benefit from. Contributing does not have to coincide with your application for the tax credit.

Over 50 productions have contributed so far, including Hank Zipster, Officially Amazing, Ice Stars, The Worst Witch, Joe All Alone, Horrible Histories, Art Ninja, Teacup Travels, Apple Tree House, Do You Know?, Hetty Feather, Gory Games, Operation Ouch!, Millie Inbetween, Treasure Champs, Deadly Dinosaurs, Gym Stars, The Secret Life of Boys, Top Class and several from the My Life strand. 

Decisions on how the funds are spent are made by the Children’s TV Skills Council, which is made up of industry leaders in the sector. These include broadcasters as well as key figures from production, who use their direct industry experience to determine the most effective use of funds as well as utilising up-to-date research on industry skills gaps.

How can we help you?

The Children's TV Skills Fund invests in a range of skills support and funding for training:

  • For production companies to help develop their workforces
  • For individuals to begin, grow or advance their careers in children's TV

Training and support programmes are delivered both in-house and externally by industry-recognised training providers.

Children's TV Make a Move

Funding is available to enable those production companies which contribute to the Children’s TV Skills Fund to provide ambitious in-house training. Applications can be submitted to support training needed for an active production or for the skills development of your staff/business.

Funding is available towards the cost of employing and training individuals identified by productions as ready to move up into a more senior role with a little support. The aim is that by the end of the training the individual will already be in, or able to apply for, their next job at the next grade up.

Examples include a location assistant moving up to location manager, make-up artist to make-up supervisor, production co-ordinator to production manager or a 2nd AD taking the step up to 1st AD.

The scheme covers all departments on a production

  • Individuals on Make a Move are not trainees, but part of a scheme to encourage and promote professional development
  • Those put forward for the scheme need to be a professional who is deemed ready to move up to their next career grade
  • They can be a completely new person to the team and department or an individual that has already worked with the team on a previous production.

How much funding is available?
Fund-contributing productions can apply for up to £10,000 per production. This is match-funded with investment from the production/company. In-kind contributions are acceptable as match funding.

What can be funded?
The funding is flexible and can be used to cover:

  • Salaries
  • Travel and accommodation expenses
  • Mentoring
  • Shadowing
  • Attending short courses

Funding can be used to support one or more people on the production across any department.

What can’t be funded?

  • We are unable to fund retrospective claims. Apply in good time to allow us to process the associated paperwork
  • We are unable to fund individuals who are already working within the grade they are about to move up to unless there is a robust case that the ‘moving up’ will mean they are working differently
  • Individuals can only participate in Make a Move after being put forward by their employer.

To find out more and apply visit the Children's TV Make a Move opportunity page.

Children's TV Trainee Finder

Trainee Finder is an entry-level placement scheme which places trainees on UK TV drama productions. Trainees will become part of an industry-recognised group of trainees, receiving exclusive access to training placements on children’s TV drama and high-end TV drama shot in the UK.

Since its launch, Trainee Finder has place trainees on numerous children’s TV drama productions across the UK, including The Worst Witch, Joe All Alone, Katy, Millie Inbetween, Creeped Out, The A list, Horrible Histories and The Secret Life of Boys. We currently have around 120 trainees from across the UK who are available to work on Skills Fund-contributing drama productions within the following grades:

  • Art department
  • Camera
  • Costume
  • Edit
  • Floor runner
  • Hair and make-up
  • Locations
  • Production office
  • Sound

Each of the trainees has been interviewed by an industry professional working in the chosen department and has taken part in an induction course before their placements begin.

Every trainee will also take part in the Trainee Finder pastoral care programme, which will include valuable additional training including health and safety on set, supporting a carbon-neutral production and finance for freelancers.

Please contact us in the first instance to talk about your requirements. Once you have confirmed your contribution to the skills fund we will send you details of available trainees

  • We are able to support three trainees per production from listed departments. No subsidy for grades outside these departments is available
  • Placements per trainee should be up to 12 weeks long• We prefer productions to take three trainees and offer each a 12-week placement, however, do let us know if you require more flexibility i.e. two trainees for 24 weeks
  • Trainees are engaged by the production on a fixed-term contract and paid via payroll with all the usual deductions
  • The Children’s TV Skills Fund will contribute £250 per week towards each trainee’s salary
  • Whilst on production, the trainee must be supported by a supervisor within the department
  • We ask that productions release trainees for training days

If we are unable to offer a trainee from the pool due to them being on other placements, we are happy to discuss potential new trainees who could join the scheme, subject to interview.

For more details or if you wish to take on a trainee visit the Support a trainee page.

Children's TV bursaries

ScreenSkills also funds bursaries for individuals working in the UK screen industry as freelancers to fund training courses for career progression. This includes bursaries for attending courses listed on the Skills Passport training course directory. For more information please visit the bursaries page

Partnership with high-end TV

The growth of big-budget, large scale drama in the UK as a result of the high-end TV tax credit, has had an impact on the availability of crew able to work on children’s TV drama productions; it has also affected how quickly people advance. In recognition of this, ScreenSkills' Children's TV Skills Fund and High-end TV Skills Fund are collaborating to deliver training programmes which professionals working on children’s drama can benefit from. More details on our 2019/20 offer will follow soon. In the meantime, please contact Sarah Joyce for further information at: sarah.joyce@screenskills.com.

Past schemes supported by the ScreenSkills Children's TV Skills Fund

These are schemes or programmes that ScreenSkills does not directly manage, but that are fully or partly supported by the investment fund. For more information about future dates please contact the providers directly.

Get the Knowledge!
A bespoke course on how to make great programmes for and with children. This practical workshop from Grand Scheme Media was presented by Alison Cresswell, an expert on working with children. The aim of the course is to encourage creativity and understanding in the production of media content for children.

Primed and Ready
A course for junior TV camera and sound crew looking to work on children's TV. Participants learn about the professional behaviour required to work with children in a range of production environments including studio and location. The course also provides insight into techniques and equipment, dealing with difficult recording setups, and opportunities for work in the children's sector. 

For more information about the Children's TV Skills Fund and development or training opportunities it supports, please email Sarah Joyce, TV associate, at: sarah.joyce@screenskills.com. You can also download the information on this page as the ScreenSkills Children's TV Skills Fund booklet as a PDF by clicking the button below