When productions pay into the High-end TV Skills Fund, formerly known as the levy, they are supporting and investing in the longevity and quality of crew and talent for the UK's high-end TV industry. The fund applies to TV production costing £1 million or more per broadcast hour to produce.
The fund supports both training for new entrants and career development for those already working in high-end TV. Contributing productions also get access to high-end TV programmes such as Trainee Finder and Make a Move.
As part of the consultations with the Government to secure high-end TV tax relief in 2013, representatives of the TV drama industry agreed to start a high-end TV levy. The intention was to create a sustainable skills funding legacy with funds raised supporting the next generation of high-end TV talent.
To achieve this, it was agreed that all high-end TV productions intending to take advantage of UK high-end TV tax relief would contribute to a skills levy fund, now known as the High-end TV Skills Fund, managed by ScreenSkills.
ScreenSkills set up a High-end TV Council to help manage the fund and in 2017 added nine industry-led working groups. ScreenSkills' high-end TV team works closely with the council and working groups to ensure that all investment is industry-led. The council and working groups identify key training needs, set priorities and develop relevant training programmes.
Since the fund was established in July 2013, we have raised just over £17 million to support the growth of the high-end TV industry, that is, productions costing more than £1 million an hour to make. High-end TV productions paying into the fund have included The Crown, Small Axe, Succession, Sex Education, Avenue 5, The Witcher,
Hanna, Outlander, Des and Killing Eve.
The five major UK broadcasters support the skills fund on both in-house and commissioned productions, along with streamers including Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Warner Media.
To avoid confusion with the government's Apprenticeship Levy, which is compulsory for all companies with an annual wage bill of £3 million or more, it has been agreed to re-name the levy fund the High-end TV Skills Fund.
Eligible productions contribute 0.5% of their UK core expenditure (in sterling), up to a current maximum contribution of £58,200 (the cap increases each year in line with inflation plus 2%). Productions can take out up to 60% of the value of their Fund contribution from programmes offering direct return finance eg Trainee Finder. This is to ensure the Skills Fund has income to also invest in wider skills activity that benefits UK high-end TV industry growth.
High-end TV productions can choose to pay their contribution in full on the first day of principal photography or can opt to pay in two halves, on the first and last day of principal photography. The earlier you commit to contributing to the skills levy, the more opportunities your production could benefit from. Paying into the fund does not have to coincide with your application for tax credit.
If you are paying into the High-end TV Skills Fund for the first time and have any questions. please email: HETV@screenskills.com.
The funds are invested across the UK in skills development for crew and talent with a focus on skills shortages as well as new entrants. All investment decisions are entirely industry led via our working groups, High-end TV Council and finance committee.
Currently, this investment is providing leadership and management training for heads of departments on Skills Fund-contributing productions.
To find out more about the work of the fund, take a look at some of our past and current programmes for new entrants or programmes for crew and talent, or take a look at some of our case studies from professionals who have benefited from ScreenSkills-supported training. Click the following links to download ScreenSkills' High-end TV Skills Fund booklet (PDF) or High-end TV Skills Fund 'The Story So Far' report (PDF) (published under the previous name of Creative Skillset).
For more information about the High-end TV Skills Fund please email: HETV@screenskills.com.
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