27 Apr 2021
ScreenSkills has expanded its High-end TV Trainee Finder programme to include the accounts department for the first time, taking on a cohort of 15 trainees to meet the huge demand for accountants in the industry.
All were selected to take part in ScreenSkills’ flagship entry-level paid placement programme after interviews with a panel of industry professionals. Experienced production accountant Theresa McKay-Roberts (Intergalactic, Cobra, Ackley Bridge) was one of the panellists and has already hired one candidate to work with her on her new project.
“I think it’s fantastic we can now access trainees to work within the accounts team, something I have been wanting for some time now,” she says. “I love to train people and see them enjoy the working environment within TV productions, however the challenge for me is finding the time to advertise and interview candidates. Having ScreenSkills do this process makes life so much easier for us in production.”
All candidates have had less than 12 months of paid experience in the accounts department of a high-end TV production. While some have worked in TV or film previously, others are looking to transfer into screen.
Leeds-based Gabriela Griffiths had spent six months working in the accounts department of Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch before joining Trainee Finder. “I’m hoping to develop a wider set of skills and knowledge,” she says. She enjoyed hearing about work experiences of others during the induction in early April and the wide variety of background they have. “I’ve gained an insight into the runnings of a drama/film shoot.”
Ashlene Aylward, based in Northern Ireland, also found the induction insightful. She has 12 years of experience in the screen industries but had not previously worked in the accounts department. “The induction process was supportive and insightful,” she says. “Although the overview of production was familiar, it felt new because it’s HETV the scale of production and budget. The drilling down to the basic work of an accounts trainee was new and informative.”
Trainee Finder, supported by the High-end TV Skills Fund, helps participants find paid placements on high-end TV and children’s TV programmes. Trainees also receive training on topics such as such as finance for freelancers, confidence building and interview techniques and ongoing pastoral support.
It was agreed in the autumn of 2020 that there would be no full-scale recruitment round for trainees in 2021/22 and focus on helping its 2020/21 cohort complete their training in spite of Covid-19 challenges.