2023 in review: High-end TV Skills Fund highlights

Image: Top Boy Season 3 - Ali Painter/Netflix © 2022.

Throughout 2023 we have been celebrating industry commitment to skills investment.  HETV at 10, marked a decade of industry-led support for freelancers across the UK wishing to progress their careers in High-end TV.

“2023 has been a challenging year without question, but I am heartened to see that despite this, industry’s commitment to invest and support skills development remains steadfast,” says Kaye Elliott, Director of High-end Television. “It’s truly fantastic to see how much can be achieved by industry to support collective workforce growth when it works together.”

HETV at 10 has offered the opportunity to recognise the world-class skill and talent of the production industry working all across the nations and regions, with the people who produce the shows at the heart of the industry’s success on the global stage.

This is something we have celebrated in all corners of the UK. The anniversary year kicked off in July with an event on London’s South Bank, where ITN journalist Nina Nannar hosted a discussion with the Fund’s previous chair, now deputy, Christine Healy, COO Keshet UK and its new chair Barry Ryan, Head of Production at Ink Factory. August saw the HETV Fund return to the Edinburgh Television Festival to host a panel on developing and retaining talent during uncertain times. In the Autumn, industry gathered at special events in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow and Bristol, and are planning events in Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham before the end of the financial year, to celebrate and discuss the successes and local impact of the Fund over the last ten years and look ahead to the future.

Read more about HETV at 10

Ten years on, the Fund has created a legacy of skills funding for productions accessing the UK High-end TV tax break. Since launch in 2013 over £36 million has been invested in workforce development with contributions from over 1100 productions. This has enabled thousands of freelancers across the UK to start a career or step up into more senior careers in screen.

“From graphics trainees to HOD’s, shadow directors to script supervisors, we’re proud to have helped dozens of people launch or develop their TV careers across two series of our Channel 4 prison drama Screw,” creative director of drama at STV Studios, Sarah Brown told us. “ScreenSkills’ HETV Skills Fund support was pivotal in helping us increase the number of trainees and grow the ambition of our training scheme to plug skills gaps in our industry in Scotland.”

In the financial year 2023/24, £10 million is being invested in training and development. This continues to support the Fund’s well-established flagship mid-career and leadership programmes including Leaders of Tomorrow, Make a Move and grade shortage training via Make a Move Plus. It has also supported the delivery of new courses addressing industry identified skills gaps, including further support to address equality, diversity and inclusion in career pathways and progression in the industry. The ground-breaking Access Coordinator training, currently being delivered by TripleC, is just one of this year’s initiatives that will make a lasting difference for those with access, adjustment or inclusion requirements on productions. The Fund’s Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland Working Groups have introduced new courses on working with darker skin tones and textured hair this year. In the regions, the regional Working Group is supporting those returning to work as well as developing new local writers.

Read more about the Fund's support across the nations

“The Developing Heads of Department programme in Wales was totally career changing,” says Peter Darney, after working on the set of Lost Boys and Fairies. “I got to shadow a director working with a team at the top of their game creating a world class drama, here in my home town. I got extensive directing experience in things that only the budget of a high-end drama could offer. The breadth of experience I gained has given me the confidence to know that I can lead my own teams through whatever challenges production might throw at me.”

The Fund has also opened the door for those wanting to take their first steps in a high-end TV career. Nearly 200 HETV trainees have undertaken placements on UK high-end tv productions this year. The Fund has partnered on 10 First Break projects across the UK, which has led to 50 participants taking on paid work experience. The Fund has also delivered the High-end TV School Careers Roadshow in Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Northern Ireland providing nearly 2,700 students with a taste of a career in HETV.

The Fund is excited to be looking to its next chapter to continue to deliver impactful and proven skills support for the UK workforce.

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Find out more about the HETV Skills Fund

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