New £500,000 bursaries pot for screen professionals

ScreenSkills has committed more than £500,000 in 2019/20 to bursaries for individual screen professionals for training and career opportunities. It will also open up the bursaries programme to new entrants for the first time.

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The funding, which is increased from previous years, is supported by the BFI awarding national lottery funds as well as industry contributions from the High-end, Children’s TV and Television Skills Funds.

The application process has also been simplified, with a single point of entry covering all the different funds available. New rules mean that applications will be considered for the first time for items such as driving lessons, software licensing or wet weather equipment because not being able to afford these items has been identified as a barrier to progressing in the screen industries.

Support will continue to be offered for childcare, accommodation and travel in a move to open up opportunities to people wanting to return to the industry after a parenting break and for those who need initial help in taking up opportunities to advance their career.

New entrants to the screen industries will be eligible for some strands of financial support for the first time after a relaxation of previous rules that had targeted support at those with a minimum of two professional credits.

Priority will be given to applications from people who are working in skills gap or shortage areas in the industry. Other factors which may be taken into account in awarding funds include income and whether the proposed course is one recognised by ScreenSkills. Some funding is reserved for groups under-represented in the screen industries.

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills Chief Executive Officer, said: “The skilled workforce is one of the pillars of the UK screen industries. But with pressure on people to step up more quickly and new kit and technologies coming onstream, we know there is a constant need to improve skills and update knowledge.

“Our bursaries offer individuals support to take control of their own careers by providing contributions towards whatever they need to progress, whether that’s support for childcare, a new software licence or a particular training programme. Sometimes comparatively small things, such as not being able to drive, can be a major hurdle to getting on so we hope these new funds will help.”

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