About the Unscripted TV Skills Fund

The Unscripted TV Skills Fund (USF) addresses skills gaps and shortages in unscripted television across the UK and builds a bigger pool of off-screen crew and talent in the nations and regions.

This video highlights the partnerships and achievements of the fund.

Since its launch in 2021, the Fund has adopted a collaborative, industry-led approach to help transform investment in the workforce for unscripted television.

Investing matched contributions from participating broadcasters and streamers, as well as  production companies, the Fund is designed to build a more inclusive workforce and future-proof the industry. In support of this, a minimum of 50% of all training programme participants will meet at least one industry-recognised diversity and inclusion aim.

Our founding partners were the BBC, Channel 4, Sky, Discovery UK and A+E Networks UK. Since the Fund launched, Channel 5, Netflix, Amazon, ITV, UKTV and S4C have also joined. A total of 259 production companies contributed to the Fund in its first two years.

Decided through discussion with industry partners who form the  steering group, council, and working groups, investment is targeted where attention is most needed to improve the skilled workforce available to production companies.

I work with 55 industry representatives - 11 broadcasters and streamers and 44 from production or post production companies to set the priorities for the Unscripted TV Skills Fund. To my delight, it has been surprisingly easy to find commonality and commitment, irrespective of size, location, genre or budget. To be able to have the input of so many also means the USF belongs to the industry as a whole, no one voice is more important than another.

Sarah Joyce, Head of Unscripted and Children's TV

Our commitment to support people working across the UK means that at least 50% of the Fund will be invested in training places for those based in the nations and regions. The percentage changes each year so check out the latest training programmes for more details. Short course training, available throughout the year at regular intervals, allows people to embed training into their working lives.

We aim to support a further 2,600 professionals in developing their skills and knowledge across a range of subjects. These are grouped into strands - Step Up, Your Life at Work, Mind Your Business, and Connect and Inspire.

This year, we continue to invest in programmes that have already proved successful. This includes our development researcher, shooting producer director, researcher to shooting assistant producer and edit assistant programmes.

New training programmes running this year include casting researcher, archive researcher, production assistant and edit producing skills for future series producers.

The USF is also funding the highly regarded Series Producer Programme, run this year by training providers TRC Media.

We have been able to invest in progression training targeting specific job role shortages such as production assistant, production coordinator and production manager. We have also delivered complementary programmes for edit assistants entering the industry and those looking to step up to become junior editors.

Each one was commissioned as a result of our relationship with industry and the ability to move quickly to respond to its most pressing needs.

The USF has been able to achieve a huge amount since its launch. Everyone recognised the scale of need for training and career development skills in unscripted TV and we wanted to get going and keep growing.  My role is to ensure the Fund stays responsive with its ear to the ground in order to deliver what the industry needs right now!  It’s also important for the Fund to look ahead at what new skills might be needed and how technology, for example, may impact programme-making in the future.

Sarah Joyce, Head of Unscripted and Children's TV

Find out more about how the Unscripted Skills Fund works and what production companies need to know.

The USF team offers detailed support for new trainers, so if you are interested in finding out how you could work with us do get in touch.

To sign up to the monthly short-course email please send your details to usf@screenskills.com.

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