Bursaries help professionals progress

On set of Safe © Ben Blackall, Red Productions 2018

Around 70 professionals working in the screen industries have benefited from ScreenSkills funding since the launch of the new bursaries pot three months ago.

The pot of £500,000 of funding, an increase 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. Professionals at all career stages can apply for bursaries to help them pursue training and career opportunities.

The aim of the bursaries is to enable professionals to further their career. Art department assistant Lily Lea Abraham, for example, was able to attend an international educational programme for art department professionals to further develop her skills in production design with ScreenSkills funding support. “It’s hard to express in words how inspiring and invaluable the experience of attending the masterclass was,” she said.

Props and model maker Noel Kellett secured a bursary to attend a compositing for visual effects course, to develop his skills and understanding of the tools used in 2D compositing. He said of the course that it “broadened the range of potential work available to me in a new medium in the film and television industry. I’ve gained skills and confidence around moving over into digital effects.”

Hair and make-up artist Heather Pitchford received a bursary to attend a course on applying facial hair. She said: “It will change the entire level of what I can do and have a hugely positive impact in terms of my confidence. I feel a lightbulb has gone on and I have finally grasped the skills I was hoping to achieve. I feel very lucky to have benefited from this bursary.”

ScreenSkills encourages bursary applications from professionals at all career stages to help cover work or training-related costs.

ScreenSkills head of film and animation Gareth Ellis-Unwin offers advice on making an application. “When filling out your application, be specific about exactly what you want the money for and exactly how it will help your work in the screen industries,” he says. “Make sure you’ve suggested the most cost-effective option to maximise your chances of receiving a bursary. Please remember, because we are spending limited funds that are from the public purse, we have to be confident of really making an impact!”

Update 17 October 2019: more than 150 bursaries have been awarded since June 2019.

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