Art department trainee Edwina Bowen

Edwina loved watching television but thought a career in the TV industry was “unattainable” - until she heard about ScreenSkills’ HETV Trainee Finder.

 “It was really exciting to be accepted,” she says. After an induction weekend she began working on Hanna in the art department in spring 2019 and since then, no two days have been the same.

“It’s very varied what I do. I’m supporting the team. There’s a lot of slightly mundane but useful things like making teas and getting lunches. But there’s also a lot of research I have to do.

“The graphics department has needed a lot of help, so I’ve been helping them, for example, things like dressing the rooms, that kind of thing. There’s lots of driving too. The production hired me a car, as I didn’t have one.”

Some work is running around, collecting props or graphics, but also doing work on set such as painting. The thing she enjoys the most is “making things that might be shown on the TV show”.

She says: “I had an email the other day, which had photos of one of the sets. I was asked to do research and make some drawings and collages that a 10-year-old would make. So when I saw photos of the set and they were on the fridge it was like, ‘Oh, I made that!’ Seeing the finished results and how you’re part of the whole thing is rewarding.”

She thought that “starting at the bottom would not be super-creative” but more creativity would be involved as you progress.

At 31, she had completed a psychology degree in London and then a master’s in interior design in Glasgow, before getting her TV break. “l love TV and watching it, but I always assumed it would be an unattainable career to have. I thought it would be so hard to get into,” explains Edwina. “When I found out that actually it might be possible, I thought I’d go for it.”

She regards the support on the programme as invaluable: “ScreenSkills have been great, often asking how I am and if I want a chat. Recently they reminded me it’s good to have a break between jobs; it’s good to know they’ve got my back, it’s reassuring.”

Her plan is “to get more trainee jobs and within a year move up to the next stage either as an art department assistant or get into set decoration and do petty cash buying. I’m going to just keep my head down and work hard.”

“l love TV and watching it…but I always assumed it would be an unattainable career to have. I thought it would be so hard to get into,” explains Edwina. “So when I found out actually it might be possible I thought I’d go for it.”She lives in the capital and the main challenge in her role has been learning to drive in London: “I was thrown in at the deep end, but I’ve got used to it.”

Edwina, who grew up north of London in Bedford, says her top tip for anyone applying to be a ScreenSkills trainee is to “be as honest as possible about why you want to do it. ScreenSkills are looking for people who are really passionate”.

For anyone wanting to follow her career path, she gives this advice: “The main thing with this job is to be really open to anything and to get used to being versatile; make the most of it and be a happy face.”

Back to case studies