Looking forward to 2020 in non-scripted and children's TV

Ambulance © BBC

As we embark on another year, I would like to extend a massive “thank you” to the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 whose ongoing contributions to the TV Skills Fund (TVSF) make the work ScreenSkills is able to do to support the non-scripted TV industry possible. Members of the TVSF Council deserve a special mention as they give up their valuable time to provide indispensable industry insight and focus to ensure the fund is being maximised in support of skills programmes most needed by the industry. My thanks to them too.   

With 2020 now well underway, it seemed a good moment to highlight a few achievements from the last year. Much to the delight of the industry, the TV Skills Fund commissioned a second iteration of the Production Coordinator Training Programme (PCTP). The training kicked off in London in October 2019 followed by Salford in January 2020. Glasgow training takes place in March with the final training block in Bristol in May. The programme will see around 60 new PCs trained and given the opportunity to embed their knowledge with a three-month paid placement in a production company or broadcaster. The programme is an excellent example of cross-party collaboration with the Indie Training Fund, BBC Academy and The Televators all playing key roles in the programme. The commitment from industry to training and mentoring these new PCs cannot be under-estimated.

The fourth cohort of the Series Producer Programme have been benefiting from expert training, industry masterclasses, commissioned networking and much more throughout 2019. They graduate from the programme at the end of February 2020, with a fifth cohort due to start their training hot on their heels in March 2020.

For the second year, the Rising Director Scheme showcased the three-minute short films made by the directors on the programme at Sheffield Doc/Fest to a packed room of industry execs and commissioners, to great acclaim.  Ashley Francis-Roy who took part in the first year of the Rising Director Scheme won Channel 4’s First Cuts 2019. He said at the time: “There’s no doubt that the training and development I received on the scheme set me up for the success I had this year.”

A second year of the hugely popular Researcher to Shooting AP programme launches soon, giving 10 researchers the opportunity to learn the technical skills needed to make the step up to shooting AP. The training runs over three months and is mainly on weekends so that participants can fit it in around work.  Application information will be posted on the website soon.

Last year saw the reintroduction of TV Skills Fund bursaries aimed at individuals from under-represented groups, based in the nations and regions. Bursaries support those looking to develop their skills by attending training and can be used to pay training fees as well as associated expenses such as travel or carer costs. Bursaries are available irrespective of career stage and may be just what is needed after a career break to refresh your knowledge. 

Finally, please do check the website for more details on any of the programmes or initiatives mentioned and feel free to share the newsletter as we head into a new year of funding from April 2020.  The Council and I look forward to working with you in the year ahead!

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