2023 in review: Children's TV Skills Fund

Image: Silverpoint (C) BBC Zodiak Kids Studio UK Ltd

In October 2023 the results of a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI Omnibus confirmed the importance of children’s TV. The report found overwhelming support for the provision of children’s programming with 81% of respondents saying that it formed a central part of growing up for a child.

Sarah Joyce, Head of Unscripted and Children’s Television at ScreenSkills, said: “We also know that people want to pursue careers specifically in children’s television and there is a real risk that they might not be able to realise their dreams and ambitions in the future.”

Read more about the report

The result spoke to the important work supported and delivered by the Children’s TV Skills Fund and the investments made to provide opportunities for the sector’s workforce across the UK. In 2023 this resulted in more than 300 people of all career levels taking part in 85 training activities across the year.

Get the Knowledge is one such programme. The returning series dedicated to different aspects of making children’s TV was expanded this year with additional offers to meet industry demands. Modules like Working with the Under 18s, Writing for Children’s TV and Developing Content for Kids each provided practical, digestible training delivered by experienced practitioners of children’s TV and welcomed a host of professionals to their online sessions throughout the year.

Toward the end of the year, five candidates completed their time on the Dream Big! programme. Now in its second year, the new entrant initiative provides training and paid production placements to those looking to start their screen careers. Erin Malinowski was part of this year’s cohort and spoke about how the programme’s blend of on-the-job learning and guided training was hugely beneficial. “The training thinkBIGGER provided alongside the placements was what really made Dream Big! an invaluable opportunity. Starting with a crash course introduction to the industry over the first week and ending with a couple of days in London meeting talent managers and other industry professionals, the training was not only incredibly helpful but really good fun.”

Read more about Dream Big! and the 2023 cohort

Further guidance was available in the Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling for Children’s TV courses, newly developed for this year. Those working in the sector benefited from expert training in the software, learning the essential elements and given a step-by-step introduction before using their newfound knowledge to create a live example.

The need for soft skills remained as necessary as ever and courses in leadership and management essentials continue to be offered with the addition this year of complementary training such as  managing tricky relationships which seek to equip those with managerial responsibilities with the right tools to work productively.

Improving the workplace environment was an aim of other programmes too, with mental health awareness for HODs a staple of the Skills Fund offer, which has been enhanced with HR one-two-one surgeries for example to support small employers.

These training modules are shaped by the sector’s needs determined by the Fund’s council and responding directly to industry’s needs. Val Ames, Producer at Quirky Films Ltd and member of the Children’s TV Skills Council, said: “We look at assistant director and director departments that need to know about licensing children, scheduling for children’s hours and also scheduling for tutoring. For production, we provide training for line producers, production managers and coordinators, again in terms of dealing with children and all of the bespoke issues that children’s television has to face.”

Read more from an interview with Val Ames

The new year will bring with it further opportunities, including a new cohort welcomed on to the Trainee Finder programme where more new entrants will receive their first job in children’s TV via paid placements at a range of leading production companies.

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Find out more about the Children's TV Skills Fund

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