2023 in review: Unscripted TV Skills Fund highlights

Image: BBCMindhouse Productions, Ryan Mcnamara

2023 marked the second anniversary of the Unscripted TV Skills Fund (USF) and saw a continuation of its aim to transform investment in the sector’s workforce.

This commitment is made possible through the contributions of broadcasters, streamers and production companies which are used to support training for those across the UK. From April 2023, a total of 132 companies have contributed to the Fund, matching contributions from the 11 broadcasters and streamers who are signed up, S4C being the most recent addition. This has enabled the delivery of 411 training events and programmes across the year.  

One of the key priorities – to ensure support for those outside of London – was in evidence in the Fund’s Series Producer Programme. The highly regarded initiative saw 22 experienced producers and directors based in the nations and regions receive tailored training over an eight month period to help them confidently make the next step in their careers.

Read more about the Series Producer Programme

The Fund continues to support training across a range of areas of need, including junior editors. The USF funded programme saw 20 edit assistants receive on the job training to enable them to progress to junior editor. One of those on the programme was Kate Burley, she said: “It’s been an illuminating six months and has helped me progress in my personal development and career. During the course, I was fortunate to be given editing opportunities at work, helping senior editors with their cuts on different programmes of various genres. Now, I’m very excited that I have now begun my own journey by working as an editor for the new series of one of our most successful, ongoing programmes.” Following a successful first year, this  programme will return in 2024.

In addition to production coordinator and production manager training programmes, the USF invested this year in a production assistant (aka production secretary/PMA) programme to encourage more people to pursue a career in production management. The training includes a three-month part-funded placement in an independent production company.

Another first for this year was development teams training which included two-day development workshops delivered across the UK, another training programme that will be returning next year.

The Fund’s investment in short courses provides free and accessible training to those making unscripted TV across the UK. Divided across three categories – Step Up, Your Life at Work, and Mind Your Business - the courses on offer are reviewed and updated to directly respond to the working world. Courses in welfare and duty of care essentials, AI for TV development, data security and Decoding TV buyers needs were all new this year, with several others in development.

Over the year there was a marked increase in those attending the short courses as the UKs unscripted workforce turned to ScreenSkills to update their skills and knowledge during a turbulent year. 

There will be further short courses and training opportunities available in 2024. Specific Avid software training, stepping into management guidance and sessions on how to find and shoot the story are all among the range of short courses currently available to book. Returning training programmes include Researcher to Shooting AP and Step up to Shooting PD while casting researcher and edit production skills for future SPs are also commissioned by the Fund and open for applications.

Discover more

Find out more about the Unscripted TV Skills Fund

Back to news